Nigeria on Wednesday booked their place in the semifinals of the men’s football event of Brazzaville 2015 All Africa Games following their 2-0 defeat of their bitter rivals Ghana at Stade Municipal de Kintele. The national Under-23 team’s final Group B match against Senegal, who drew 0-0 with Ghana on the opening day, will determine the overall winners of the group following the last-minute withdrawal of Egypt. Goals from Junior Ajayi and Kingsley Sokari gave Nigeria three points in their first match of the competition as they seek to win their second gold in the Games. Nigeria ruled the men’s football event at the 1973 edition in Lagos.
Nigeria dominated Wednesday’s encounter with Oghenekaro Etebo threatening all day. Nigeria went close to scoring a goal in the 10th minute when Sokari combined well with Aminu Umar only for the Turkey-based player to shoot wide. Nigeria continued to mount pressure on the Ghanaians. They almost took the lead after Ajayi flicked the ball over the Ghanaian goalkeeper, but it went off target in the 33rd minute. On resumption of the second half, Nigeria continued to attack – and an exchange between Sokari and Daniel Etor released unmarked Ajayi to score the opener in the 55th minute. Ghana almost responded with some chances which came their way but the solid Nigerian defence resisted. The closest they came was in the 85th minute when Bright Adjei fired a lame shot into the hands of Nigeria goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel. But Sokari doubled Nigeria’s lead in the 87th minute after combining with Okechukwu Azubuike. Ghana, who are the defending champions of the event, having won the gold medal in the 2011 edition in Maputo, Mozambique, will rely on Nigeria to defeat Senegal heavily on Saturday to reach the semifinals. Culled from Punch.