Thursday Sep 14, 2017. 19:02
Neither Eagle could soar as Mali and Nigeria played to a goalless draw in the opening Group A match of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Thursday, September 14.
The first shot on goal came in the eighth minute when a goalmouth scramble inside the Nigerian box fell to Mohamed Traore, but the Eagles attacker volleyed over the target from 16-yards out.
Ten minutes later the Super Eagles had their first shot on goal when Uche Akas fired a stinging 22-yard free-kick into the arms of the Malian keeper.
In the 33rd minute Nigeria came close to scoring again when Stephen Eze met a corner-kick with a strong header, but his ten-yard effort was well-saved by the goalkeeper.
Neither side could break the deadlock before the half time whistle.
The second half started very slowly with the first attempt on goal only coming on the hour mark when Boubacar Samassekou met a free-kick from the left, but his ten-yard header sailed over the Nigerian goal.
In the 69th minute Moussa Kone was afforded a great chance to score when he drove into the box, but with just Ikechukwu Ezenwa to beat he fluffed his shot and the Super Eagles keeper made a comfortable save.
A minute later Olamileka Aniyikaye came to the rescue for Nigeria when he cleared a 12-yard shot from Mandala Konte off the goalline with his head.
Nigeria threw players forward in the final ten minutes of the game and nearly stole the win in the 85th minute when Friday John met a free-kick from the left, but his 14-yard header skimmed the wrong side of the crossbar.
The match ended goalless.
Nigeria’s next Group A match will take place on Saturday, September 16 against Guinea while Mali will face Ghana on the same day.
Black Stars shine at WAFU Cup of Nations
Thursday Sep 14, 2017. 22:06
Second half goals from Stephen Sarfo and Razak Patrick handed Ghana a 2-0 win over Guinea in their first Group A game of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations at Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Thursday, September 14.
Ghana started really positively and created chances almost at will in the opening half, but their finishing was not at its best.
In the tenth minute Winnful Cobbina had the first real chance when he drove into the box, beating two defenders before firing narrowly over from the edge of the box.
In 19th minute Guinea manufactured their first opening when Seydouba Camara found himself in space 20-yards out, but his shot shaved the wrong side of the post.
On the half hour mark Guinea were on the attack again with Ibrahima Camara driving into the box from the left flank, but his powerful 14-yard strike hit the side-netting.
The Black Stars finished the stronger of the two sides and came within inches of taking the lead in the 39th minute when Felix Addo dribbled his way into a good area, but his stinging pile-driver struck the outside of the post.
On the stroke of half time Ghana came close again when Gideon Waja let fly from range, but again the direction was poor and the shot sailed over.
It was 0-0 at half time.
Three minutes into the second half the Black Stars took the lead when a cross from the right by Felix Addo was turned home by the chest of Stephen Sarfo from four yards out, 1-0.
Ghana thought they had doubled their lead in the 70th minute when Stephen Sarfo found the back of the net once more, but his goal was not given because the referee adjudged him to have been in an off-side position.
Seven minutes later the Black Stars did find their second goal after two substitutes combined when Razak Patrick headed a right wing cross back into the path of Kwame Kizito and he duly headed home from close range, 2-0.
In the 84th minute Guinea nearly pulled a goal back when a spectacular 30-yard free-kick from Seydouba Camara struck the woodwork and bounced away from danger.
The game filtered out after that as Ghana cruised to a comfortable win after an impressive performance.