Shooting Black Stars fly higher than Eagles

Nigeria 0
Ghana 1 (Gyan 21)

West African bragging rights belong to Ghana after they booked their place in the African Cup of Nations Final with a solitary goal win over bitter rivals, Nigeria.

Asamoah Gyan scored the only goal midway through the first half when a Kwadwo Asamoah corner caught out the napping Super Eagles defence and the in-form Rennes striker applied the finishing touches.

Ghana 1 Nigeria 0: match report - Asamoah Gyan
Gyan celebrates his goal

The Super Eagles dominated thereafter but squandered a series of good opportunities as Richard Kingston in the Ghanaian goal also some pulled off some marvelous saves.

Obafemi Martins, starting for the first time in the competition, almost handed his side the perfect start after playing a neat one-two with Peter Odemwingie on the left, but defender Hans Sarpei did just enough to put the Wolfsburg striker off his stride.

After the fast start, the pace then slowed as the Black Stars struggled to force their way into the game against their more experienced opponents.

However, they stunned the Super Eagles into silence in the 21st minute as they took the lead against the run of play – Gyan’s run to the near post catching the defenders off guard as he met Asamoah’s corner with a powerful headed finish.

The Rennes striker almost doubled the advantage shortly after with a cleverly attempted 20-yard lob that flew inches over Vincent Enyeama’s goal.

Just before the half-hour mark Martins had the best opening for his side when Odemwingie’s shot from outside the box deflected into his path, but the final 12-yard shot was too close to goalkeeper Kingston, who did excellently to push the ball wide.

The Lokomotiv Moscow forward should then have done better after finding himself with a free six-yard header created by Uwa Echiejile’s pin-point pass from the left, which was nodded wide.

After the break, Shaibu Amodu’s men were almost gifted an instant way back in when Odemwingie’s attempted pass was almost deflected into his own goal by Lee Addy, but for the intervention of Kingston.

Richard Kingson blocks an attempt from Obafemi Martins
Kingston saves Ghana

They continued to press but failed to make the most of half-chances with Chinedu Obasi and John Obi Mikel both coming close through half-chances, before Martins missed another excellent chance – he was played into the box by a splendidly weighted pass from his Chelsea team-mate, only for Kingston’s right hand this time to come to the rescue.

With 20 minutes to go, Amodu decided to throw in Yakubu Aiyegbeni, who had an instant chance to score when he was put in six-yards out by another substitute Victor Obinna – the ball, though, which came quickly was skied into the crowd.

Martins again found himself in on goal seconds later, but for third time in the game the real chance went before it actually came.

With 10 minutes to go, Nigeria began to run out of ideas and Ghana saw out time to book their first final since 1992.

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