Nigeria’s Super Eagles played out a 1-1 draw with Ghana at the Moshood Abiola Stadium in Abuja to crash out of qualifying for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup following a 1-1 aggregate scoreline which sent the Black Stars through on away goals.
After both sides played a drab draw at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi only four days ago, both sides locked horns once more in Abuja with a place in Qatar up for grabs.
Super Eagles coach Augustine Eguavoen rung the changes, bringing in the quintet of Oghenekaro Etebo, Calvin Bassey, Ademola Lookman, Frank Onyeka and Emmanuel Dennis to the starting line-up for the game.
The Super Eagles started the game in dominant fashion and were in control of proceedings until the visitors found the net against the run of play in the 11th minute.
Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey received the ball on the edge of the Super Eagles box before firing a shot straight at goalkeeper Francis Uzoho, but the Omonia Nicosia man managed to parry the ball into his own net to give the Black Stars a vital away goal.
The goal seemed to spur the home side into action as they raised their performance and put their bitter rivals on the back foot. Their persistence was soon rewarded as Leicester City forward Ademola Lookman was fouled in the box as he looked to wriggle his way past the Ghanaian defenders.
The infringement was spotted by the VAR and Super Eagles captain William Troost-Ekong blasted his effort into the top corner from 12 yards in the 22nd minute.
The Super Eagles remained on the front foot afterwards and thought they had been rewarded for a second time as the half drew to a close. Victor Osimhen was put through on goal and the Napoli man showed remarkable speed to get past the goalkeeper and keep his balance before slotting the ball into an empty goal. The goal was ruled out for offside by the VAR.
Ghana’s coach Otto Addo quickly made a number of changes of personnel and also changed the shape of his side as the second half commenced, and this allowed the Black Stars to hold off the advances of the Super Eagles throughout the second half. The away goal rule meant that they went through thanks to that early goal from Partey.
Ghana booked their place at the 2022 World Cup at the expense of the Super Eagles after missing out on the 2018 edition of the tournament. Nigeria missed the chance to become the first African nation to qualify for four successive World Cups.