Partey Spoils Eagles Party As Ghana Beat Eagles To W’Cup Ticket

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A poor display by the Super Eagles at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja Tuesday ensured Ghana’s Black Stars qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar on the away goal rule, after both sides played out a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their final play-off faceoff.

The Black Stars held the Eagles 0-0 in Kumasi on Friday, but they booked the ticket to Qatar after Thomas Partey’s opener was cancelled out by a William Troost-Ekong penalty, but the Nigeria captain’s effort did not eventually count, as the visitors danced their way to the Middle East.

Eagles coach Austin Eguavoen made four changes to the team that earned a goalless draw at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi Friday, with Ademola Lookman on for Moses Simon, while Dennis Simon replaced the injured Samuel Chukwueze, Frank Onyeka taking the place of Kelechi Iheanacho and Calvin Bassey made his full debut ahead of Zaidu Sanusi.

Despite the Eagles bright start in front of a fully packed 60,000 capacity Abuja stadium, the Black Stars took the lead through captain Thomas Partey in the 11th minute, the Arsenal midfielder unleashing a fierce low drive, which squeezed through the diving Francis Uzoho’s hands.

Nigeria began to mount pressure on their opponents immediately after going behind and began to carve out chances in search of the equaliser.

The three-time African champions had a penalty disallowed in Kumasi by VAR after the referee had initially blew for a penalty, but in the second leg on Tuesday, they were rewarded, after Ademola Lookman was brought down inside the box.

Captain William Troost-Ekong converted the resultant penalty kick, coolly sending goalkeeper Joseph Wollacott the wrong way to draw level in the 22nd minute and send home fans at the packed stadium into a frenzy.

Striker Victor Osimhen thought he had given the Eagles the lead in the 36th minute, after the Napoli man met a long range pass from Leon Balogun near the halfway line and bullied his way past his markers and Wollacott, but VAR ruled the goal for offside.

The Eagles were dominant, boasting 65 per cent of the ball possession to Ghana’s 35, but they failed to convert their chances with Osimhen virtually isolated upfront.

Ghana made three substitutions just before the start of the second half, with Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Andy Yiadom and Elisha Owusu coming on for Abdul Issahaku, Idrissu Baba and Jordan Ayew respectively. Eguavoen also brought on Abdullahi Shehu for Frank Onyeka, who copped an injury.

Emmanuel Dennis almost gave the hosts the lead in the 54th minute after he rose highest to head a looping corner from Lookman but missed narrowly.

With 30 minutes to play, Moses Simon came on for Lookman as Nigeria continued their search for the lead and tension heightened at the Abuja stadium, as the clock ticked, with the Eagles trying in vain to break down the resilient Ghana defence.

Osman Bukari, who had only spent less than five minutes on the pitch, almost put the visitors in front for the second time in the game, but fired his effort marginally wide.

With just 13 minutes left, Eguavoen brought on experienced duo Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo but it was too little too late as the Black Stars held on to grab Africa’s first ticket to the World Cup in Qatar.

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