Top five Ghana wins over Nigeria

The local Black Stars stretched Ghana’s unbeaten streak over Nigeria a little further with a shootout victory at the CHAN semis. Goal profiles five other landmark wins

By Sammie Frimpong

Ghana chalked another win over archrivals Nigeria on Wednesday night in Bloemfontein, South Africa, at the ongoing African Nations Championships. To celebrate that feat, Goal recalls five of the most memorable Ghanaian triumphs over 'Alata' in the past.

 ESSIEN-TIAL GOAL | The 'Bison' and Agogo rescued Ghana against Nigeria during Afcon 2008


In October 1955 - before either nation had emerged from British colonial rule - Ghana condemned Nigeria to its heaviest defeat ever in the fourth edition of the Jalco Cup. A 7-0 trouncing in Accra saw legendary Ghanaian footballers Charles Kumi Gyamfi and Baba Yara strike five times between them, etching their names indelibly in the annals of their homeland's football history. That the Red Devils (as Nigeria's national side were known at the time) were six goals in debt by half-time gives an inkling of just how utterly brilliant Ghana - also then the Gold Coast - were on the day.


The two regional cousins had to battle it out for an opportunity to face the Ivory Coast in an all-west African final at the 1992 Nations Cup in Senegal. A cagey tie played out at Dakar's Stade de l'Amitie was eventually tilted in Ghana's favour by goals from Abedi Ayew and Prince Polley that cancelled out an 11th minute lead taken by Nigeria through Mutiu Adepoju. Ayew stood out for special mention on that occasion as he delivered one of his finest performances for the Black Stars. His day ended in regret, though, as he got suspended for the finale itself, a match which Ghana painfully lost but only after a marathon shootout against Les Elephants.


Little did the Black Stars know that the 2-1 win described above would be the last time they would beat Nigeria at senior international level in 15 years. When Ghana finally worked out how to get one over their bigger neighbours again, though, they did it in some style. A friendly honoured in London in February 2007 afforded Ghana a handsome 4-1 triumph that Nigeria has since struggled to smart from. That conquest - known in some quarters as the 'Brentford Massacre' and sealed with goals from Laryea Kingston, Sulley Muntari, Junior Agogo and Joetex Frimpong - not only marked an end to a domineering spell for Nigeria, but also signaled the commencement of a period of Ghana's own absolute superiority over the old enemy.


The next time Ghana and Nigeria crossed paths at a major international tournament was during the Nations Cup of 2008, with the former as hosts. A capacity crowd at the Accra Sports Stadium witnessed one of the fiercest meetings between the sides in recent memory. Ghana had skipper John Mensah sent off rather harshly for a foul on Peter Odemwingie with half-an-hour to go, sometime after bulky Nigeria forward Yakubu Aiyegbeni had fired Nigeria into a lead from the spot - notoriously celebrating the goal with a cruel mimicry of the 'kangaroo dance' Ghana had patented at that competition - that was equalized by a well-taken finish from Michael Essien just before the interval. Bruised yet ever stronger, the Stars eventually claimed victory courtesy a tap-in by clean-shaven Agogo from a late Muntari cross. Alas, Nigeria had failed in its efforts to scupper the host-and-win mantra adopted by Ghana going into that Afcon but, ultimately, a narrow semi-final loss to Cameroun did it for the Ghanaians.


Ghana were arguably at their weakest during the Nations Cup held two years later in Angola, with several of its key players absent and the bulk of coach Milovan Rajevac's team drawn from a very youthful yet inexperienced pool of talent. The four-time African champions had stumbled their way into a last-four appearance and Nigeria seemed to have been presented with their best chance yet to break free of Ghana's stranglehold. Yet on the occasion of the pair's third encounter in as many Afcons, Nigeria fell to Ghana, succumbing to a headed goal from an inspired Asamoah Gyan.

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