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Ghana – Nigeria Preview: African Cup of Nations Semifinals

January 27, 2010

Obasi

Dangerman Obasi may be influential for Nigeria (Photo Credit:REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

They met at Egypt 2006, Ghana 2008 and now the stage is set again for them at Angola 2010. It’s the Black Stars of Ghana versus the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the first semifinals clash at the African Cup of Nations tomorrow. The venue is the 11 de Novembro stadium, in Luanda.

Both teams were somewhat fortunate to get into semis. Ghana resorted to rearguard action to protect a one goal lead they got in the first half of the game between Angola. Nigeria held on to a goalless draw in the match against the all encompassing Zambians to push the game into the penalty shootouts. Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was the hero when scored the deciding penalty.

They have met a total of 6 times at the African Cup Nations. Nigeria has won 3 of those encounters while Ghana has won 2. None of the two has ever scored more than 2 goals in any of their previous encounters. It’s usually a 1-0, 2-1 or a 1-1 scoreline at the end of 90 minutes. I don’t expect this one to be any different.

Their encounters usually cannot be predicted by the form of the teams. It’s the better team on the pitch who will come out victors.

Ghana Team
The young Ghana side will go into this game with a lot more confidence after winning their last two games. The injury plagued squad may be boosted by the return of Rosenborg midfielder Anthony Annan who has had to watch his team progress to this stage from the bench. The team’s medical doctors have also allayed fears of Asamoah Gyan being sidelined after he limped off in the 62 minute of their last game.

Apart from the introduction of Annan we likely to see a similar squad that played against Angola. In that game Milovan Rajevic played a 4-5-1 formation with Gyan leading the attack. He may use a similar system or will resort to the 4-4-2 formation which he played against Burkina Faso.

Their danger-man is Kwadwo Asamoah who has been influential in Milo’s game plan so far. He’s a strong midfielder who is able to hold the ball feed the attack with some useful balls. Although not yet on the scoring sheet, he has tried a couple of long range shots which have caused worries for goalkeepers. We’ve seen him score from distance during the qualifiers and Nigeria mus keep on an eye on the lad.

Black Stars

Black Stars in one of their training sessions(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Nigeria Team
Nigeria has bounced back to winning ways after they were smashed 3-1 by defending champions Egypt in the opening match. They beat Gabon 1-0 and toppled the Mambas of Mozambique by 3-0. They however needed the lottries to beat the Zambians in their last game. Irrespective of their winning ways, they’re still unconvincing and considering the big names they have in their squad, a lot more expected of them.

Obafemi Martins saw some extra time football action in the last match against Zambia. I’m sure Shaibu Amodu will like to start him rather than the less impressive Ayegbeni Yakubu. Central defender Apam is suspended for this match after receiving a red card in the last match. He was a replacement for skipper Yobo and his suspension is likely to worry the Eagles.

The danger men for Nigeria are Obasi and Odemwingie. If they should see enough of the ball they can be deadly. They have the pace that can cause trouble for the inexperience Ghana defense. Odemwingie has already found the back of the net twice and would want to eye the not out of reach top goalscorer award.

The Super Eagles of Nigeria (Photo Credit:REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Predictions
It’s the young Black Stars against the experience Super Eagles. The Eagles are slight favorites but it’s difficult to predict when these two meet.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Bang permalink
    January 28, 2010 7:55 am

    Young Black stars will do the best .i believe it 100% sure .

  2. Paul permalink
    January 28, 2010 3:26 pm

    By God Grace i believe Super Eagle will beat Ghana black star

Trackbacks

  1. Black Stars book ticket to finals as the Super Eagles are brushed aside: Ghana 1- Nigeria African Cup of Nations Quarterfinals « Afro Soccer District
  2. Black Stars book ticket to finals as the Super Eagles are brushed aside: Ghana 1-0 Nigeria African Cup of Nations Semifinals Match Report « Afro Soccer District
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