The Super Eagles defeated the Black Meteors in an international friendly to lift the Transformation Cup in commemoration of the new Akwa Ibom International Stadium on Friday night
Nigeria’s home-based Eagles defeated Ghana U23 1-0 in an international friendly played to commission the Akwa Ibom International Stadium, Uyo on Friday night.
A first half header from Emem Eduok was all the Super Eagles, handled by Daniel Amokachi, needed to get past the Black meteors who had boasted of their intention to spoil the party.
The Eagles began the game on a bright note as they got a corner after goalkeeper Richard Ofori deflected Osaguona Ighodaro’s effort. The resultant kick, taken by Gbolahan Salami, was blown away.
For the first ten minutes of the game, Nigeria dominated but despite their string of passes, they could not break down the defence line of the dogged Meteors.
Nigeria’s first real chance came in the 13th minute when Eduok broke free from the right but goalkeeper Ofori was well positioned to foil the imminent danger.
Daniel Amokachi’s men continued to dominate with Solomon Kwambe shooting from long range with his effort cleared for a corner kick.
Eduok put Nigeria in the lead with his 35th minute header after rising to connect to a well-tailored cross from Kwambe who had overlapped from the Eagles’ defence.
In the 40th minute, Ghana got a chance to equalize as goalkeeper Chigozie Agbim misjudged a cross by Agyare Benjamin while Afful could not convert from close range as he fired over the bar.
On resumption of the second half, Ghana tried to grab an equaliser but poor finishing was their major undoing. Osai raced into Nigeria’s backline then shot tamely at goal with Afful seeing his acrobatic attempt few minutes later going off target.
Even with the introduction of Kojo Poku for Noah Martey, coach Malik Jabir’s side lacked the edge to punish the errors committed by the Nigerian backline – especially from Agbim.
Eduok missed many clear cut chances to double his side’s lead as he was a marked man. Salami, substitute Mfon Udoh and Rabiu Ali in turn missed glaring opportunities.
Udoh’s best chance of the night came in the 71st minute but his strike rattled the top left corner of the cross bar. Eduok made an amazing run into the Ghana defence before setting up Udoh who chipped the ball over Ofori then saw his effort hit the wood work even though he was ruled offside by the referee.
Towards the end of the game, Enoch Ofori Kumi replaced Latif Amadu while David Opoku replaced Afful but scores stood at 1-0 in favour of Nigeria till the final whistle went.
The Nigerians were then handed the Transformation Cup by President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Godswill Akpabio.
Also in attendance were the presidents of Ghana and Ivory Coast, John Dramani Mahama and Allasane Ouattara.
The ultra-modern Akwa Ibom Stadium will host the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Nigeria and South Africa on November 19.