Host Nigeria loses FIFA W/Cup qualifier to Ghana on away goal rule
By Oviri Kelvin
Nigeria has failed to qualify for Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup after a disappointing 1-1 draw with the Black Stars of Ghana at Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja. The Trumpet was on ground to cover the match.
Prior to the second leg encounter, the Ghanaian head coach, Otto Addo, had played down any atom of superiority and dominance by Nigeria’s senior men’s team, noting that the host in the decisive match was not the favourite to clinch the FIFA World Cup ticket.
The game started with Super Eagles being supported massively by Nigerians who trooped out en-masse to the stadium to cheer the national team to victory.
At the sound of the whistle, the Super Eagles on a lighter note were trying to find their feet before the Ghanaians broke through in the 10th minute to record Thomas Partey’s strike to lead by 1-0 despite the taunting boos from Nigeria’s supporters who filled up the stadium to its 60,491 capacity.
However, the Super Eagles responded through a quick move in the 22nd minute to bring the match to parity after Troost-Ekong scored a penalty caused by Ghana’s Denis Odoi’s foul on Ademola Lookman in the penalty area. Following, after the first half ended in a one-all draw, both teams returned for the second half to continue the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup decisive cracker.
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Having played a goalless draw in Kumasi, the Super Eagles needed to score a second goal to swing the pendulum to their favour because Ghana was already a step into the World Cup on away goal advantage. The Nigeria head coach, Augustine Eguavoen, made some tactical changes in the course of the game.
He substituted Frank Onyeka for Abdullahi Shehu in the 46th minute, Moses Simon came in for Ademola Lookman in the 61st minute, Odio Ighalo and Ahmed Musa came in for Emmanuel Dennis and Etebo respectively in the 78th.
With these changes made, the Super Eagles were unable to break the well-disciplined Black Stars which tackled the host team players squarely to make them look rusty in front of the goal.
Victor Osimhen tried to get a goal for Nigerians having scored a VAR disallowed goal previously, but all efforts by the Napoli striker were either off-target or blocked by the resilient Ghanian team.
This is the second time Nigeria has failed to qualify for the World football event that showcases the football culture of each country on the world stage.
Meanwhile, the Ghanaians have finally booked a ticket to the Qatar 2022 World Cup having failed to qualify for the world football event in 2018.