CHAN 2014: Nigeria faces old foes, Ghana, in semi-finals
Nigeria’s gallant home stars will on Wednesday take on old foes, Ghana in the semi-finals of the on-going CHAN 2014 with an eye on the final.
Nigeria, which came from three goals down to beat Morocco to reach the semi-finals of the 2014 Africa Nations Championship got this pairing based on Ghana’s 1 – 0 over DR Congo.
Ghana’s Black Stars eliminated DR Congo with a 69th minute penalty through Kwabena Adusei after a DR Congo player handled the ball in the penalty area in an attempt to clear a cross and goalkeeper Kidiaba could not stop the ball.
Nigeria returned from the dead with Morocco taking a 3-0 lead before Nigeria took matters in their hands in the second to level matters.
The Atlas Lions took the lead in the 33rd minute, thanks to Mouhssine Moutaquali’s strike and doubled the lead four minutes later through Iajour Mouhssine.
Moutaquali then completed his brace in the 40th minute to ensure Morocco took a healthy lead at half time.
After recess, Nigeria came out guns blazing and got their first goal four minutes into the second half through Ugonna Uzuchukwu. Six minutes later, Rabiu Ali reduced the deficit with a half volley just on the edge of the area which beat Morocco goalie.
With the game at 3-2, Morocco settled and calmed the situation with dominance in possession, but wasted two opportunities to score the goal that could have extinguished Nigeria’s faint hope.
With the clock ticking towards the 90th minute, man of the match Ejike Uzoenyi leveled matters for Stephen Keshi’s charges with a fabulous striker that kissed the crossed bar before settling into the back of the net.
The three added minutes produced no more goals thus it called for extra time to decide the winner of one of the most interesting games of the competition so far.
The first half of extra time finished level but with five minutes left on the clock in the second period, substitute Aliyu Ibrahim completed one of football’s greatest come backs with a fourth goal after Morocco number one failed to tame Uzoenyi’s left shot off the edge.
A late scare by Morocco was all but over thanks to a resilient Nigerian defence coupled with Mouhssine’s unbelievable miss just in front of goal.