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Super Eagles Dim Ghana’s Black Stars In ‘Jollof’ Derby

Both sides squared up to renew their age-long rivalry in what is tagged the "jollof derby". But Nigeria came out tops with the bragging rights.


The Super Eagles were a much-changed side from the team that finished second at the 2023 AFCON. X@NGSuperEagles

 

A goal in each half was all Nigeria needed to claim the bragging rights against Ghana’s Black Stars in a 2-1 win on Friday evening.

The Super Eagles scored first courtesy of Cyriel Dessers’ penalty and a sweet finish from Ademola Lookman of Atalanta. But Jordan Ayew scored a late spot-kick to give the 10-men Ghana a consolation.

Nigeria, fresh off a great campaign where they finished runners-up at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) were without the CAF Player of the Year Victor Osimhen, and defender William Troost-Ekong among others. Both are nursing injuries.

But from the blast of the whistle, the much-changed Super Eagles side dictated the pace at the Grande Stade de Marrakech in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

Nigeria could not get a goal despite dominating the early exchanges. But 37 minutes into the game, Rangers’ Dessers justified interim coach George Finidi’s faith in him. He slotted from the spot after a Ghanaian player Salis Abdul Samed handled the ball to give the Super Eagles the advantage.

The first half ended in Nigeria’s favour. Game on!

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When play returned in the second 45 minutes, there were not many changes to the proceedings. In the 71st minute, Finidi brought in fresh legs, taking out Dessers and Wilfred Ndidi for Simon Moses and Raphael Onyedika respectively.

Two minutes later, Lookman came on for debutant Benjamin Tanimu who features for Tanzanian side Ihefu. The Atalanta man needed ten minutes to make a mark.

The unmarked winger made no mistakes, finishing off cooly from a brilliant Alex Iwobi’s cross from 12 yards out to double the tally for Nigeria.

Already down to 10 men after Jerome Opoku was shown a red card in the 56th minute, Ghana rallied around for a consolation goal. They got just that. Bournemouth’s Antoine Semenyo was fouled just two minutes into added time. Skipper Jordan Ayew stepped up to the plate, converting in the 95th minute to reduce the deficit.

Following Thursday’s match, Nigeria’s attention moves to Tuesday’s game against the Eagles of Mali. Both friendly ties are preparatory to the Super Eagles World Cup qualifiers later in the year.