Nigeria and Ghana will go to war again when they meet in the second leg of their CAF Third Round 2022 World Cup qualification playoff tie, set for the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on the evening of Tuesday 29 March.
The teams met in the first leg at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Friday night, playing out a 0-0 draw. Ghana dominated most of the match, though in truth they created few clear chances with which to test Nigerian goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
In fact, Black Stars striker Jordan Ayew was even jeered when he was substituted late in the game – a harsh reception for a player who had put in a huge shift, but understandable in the frustrating circumstances which saw the hosts unable to make the most of home advantage.
“First of all, we did well even though we made some mistakes but we started well, there was just a little bit of fatigue and it made Nigeria come into the game more,” said Ghana coach Otto Addo.
“We watch a lot of matches, me and my squad… and I think we know what each of them is capable of.”
The Super Eagles showed resilience in defence and patience in attack, with a few glimpses of danger from Moses Simon and Victor Osimhen – though the latter was mostly kept under wraps by Daniel Amartey.
An away draw in the first leg, reducing the tie to a one-game showdown on home soil, should suit Nigeria.
“Ghana team is not a team you can brush aside with one arm because they are a very good team. I have followed Ghana nearly all my entire career,” said Super Eagles coach Augustine Eguavoen.
“The performance they put on [Friday] was expected, [but] I would like to congratulate my boys, they were able to soak up the pressure and took control of the game in the second half.
“Again you know Ghana yes they were on top of their game, but they didn’t have any clear cut chances. But we had two clear cut chances. We should have won, but a draw, I think we are okay.”
In head-to-head stats, Ghana and Nigeria have met in 57 matches across all competitions dating back as far as 1950. The Black Stars have 25 wins compared to 12 for the Super Eagles, while 20 games have been drawn.
Nigeria have a record of eight wins, nine draws and three defeats from 20 home matches against Ghana.
While the teams’ first leg clash in Kumasi last Friday is obviously their most recent battle, the last time they met on Nigerian soil was way back in May 2003, with the Super Eagles winning 3-1 in an LG Cup semifinal in Abuja thanks to goals from Aiyegbeni Yakuku (two) and Joseph Enakarhire.