The Super Eagles of Nigeria and Black Stars of Ghana played out a 0-0 draw at an overpacked Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.
The Black Stars came out smoking in the game as they piled pressure on the Nigerians in the first fifteen minutes of the game.
Their pressures were held off by the Nigerians who stayed resolute and hard enough to nick an important draw away from home.
Ghana grew early into the game, causing all manners of trouble with their opening exchanges as the lively Felix Afena-Gyan and Fatawu Issahaku caused problems for the Nigerian defence.
Their attacking movements however didn’t lead to decent chance creation in the game.
The Ghanaians controlled play from the middle of the park in the first 20 minutes with Thomas Partey and Muhammed Kudus giving the needed impetus. Nigeria, playing without Leicester midfielder Wilfred Ndidi who was replaced by Innocent Bonke found it difficult to have a stamp on the game.
Joe Aribo also struggled with the physicality of the Ghanaians as he grew better into the contest.
In spite of Ghana’a dominance, Nigeria created the best chances of the game as they grew more settled into the battle.
Zaidu Sanusi’s heavy cross moments before the break was too heavy for Victor Osimhen to make a clean contact.
Another chance fell to Osimhen after a cross from Ola Aina met a tame effort by the Napoli attacker.
The Ghanaians also threatened with Issahaku and Afena-Gyan making dashing runs that were often met by an intervening Leon Balogun.
Francis Uzoho also had a spirited performance, preventing Ghana from taking a lead after parrying an Issahaku shot for a corner kick.
Nigeria’s wingers in the game, Samuel Chukwueze and Moses Simon were culprits of not taking good decisions in the final third.
Moments before Simon’s second half substitution, he drew a good save from Wolacott in the Black Stars after being played on by an intelligently weighted pass by Kelechi Iheanacho.
Nigeria had a penalty shout in the 76th minute after a Ghanaian defender was alleged to have handled the ball in the box. The referee gave the penalty but was overturned after a call by the VAR. Iheanacho was alleged to have fouled a Ghanaian defender in the lead up to the spot kick.
It was a pretty cagey affair at the 40,000-seater stadium in Kumasi, with 70,000 fans packed into the stands on the day.
Nigeria will host the Black Stars in Abuja on the 29th of March in a game that promises to be another feisty contest.
Photo Credit: Pooja