Nigeria lose to Ghana in penalty playoff | Tunde Folawiyo

Shortly before their recent semi-final match against Ghana, the Super Eagles were promised a payout of $100,000 – in addition to the NFF’s match win bonuses – if they defeated their opponents. The same offer had been made before the Eagle’s clash with Morocco last month, and seemed to work well, as the former emerged victorious, with a final result of 4-3. But this time, the monetary incentTunde Folawiyoive simply wasn’t enough; Ghana managed to beat Nigeria 4-1, following a round of penalties taken at the end of extra time. This probably came as quite a shock to fans of the team, like Tunde Folawiyo, as the Eagles have performed consistently well for the past year or so.

During the opening minutes of the match, Nigeria appeared to be the superior side, retaining possession of the ball and attacking with great skill.  However, throughout the rest of the game, neither team managed to gain the upper hand. Ghana came close to scoring in the 10th minute, when Attobrah attempted to kick the ball in from the corner, but the Eagles were quick to defend themselves; in the end, his efforts proved fruitless. Just a couple of minutes later, Ibrahim almost provided Nigeria with the lead, but his shot was just wide of the net.

Ghana was dealt a blow in the 64th minute, when the referee decided to send off Adusei, following his second bookable offence. This left the team with just 10 players, and provided Nigeria with a clear advantage; but whilst the Eagles made several valiant attempts, they were unable to overcome Ghana’s strong defence and as the whistle blew, the score remained 0-0.  During extra time, Afful nearly gave the Black Stars a goal, but his efforts were thwarted by Agbim. Nigeria were given a similar scoring opportunity during the 118th minute, but Imenger failed to convert – by the end of extra time, neither team had managed to score, and the match went into penalties.

Kwambe, the Eagles’ defender, delivered a powerful kick, but the ball never reached the net, as the Black Star’s keeper, Adams, performed a skilful save. Uzochukwu’s endeavour was equally unsuccessful. Ghana’s chosen players,  Ainooson, Anobaah, Akuffo and Attobrah, each scored one goal, and in doing so, dashed Nigeria’s hopes of winning the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) – a fact which is likely to disappoint Tunde Folawiyo, and other supporters. Following this loss, the Eagles must now battle against Zimbabwe for the tournament’s bronze medal.

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