Hosts Ghana were on the receiving end of a 4-2 battering by rivals Nigeria in the opening match of the 2022 Wafu Zone-B U-17 Cup of Nations at Cape Coast Sports Stadium Saturday afternoon.
It was a combination of efforts backed by luck for the Golden Eaglets who ensured they started their chase for a ticket to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) to be hosted by Algeria.
Nigeria needed 13 minutes to open the scoring through a well-taken free-kick by left-back Emmanuel Michael – he goes into the records as scorer of the tournament’s opening goal.
A minute from the halftime break, Nigeria went two up. Ghana goalkeeper Ahmed Amadu Dembarah had pushed back a shot from striker but the ball fortuitously landed in front of captain Precious Williams who made no mistake in tucking home.
2-0 the first half ended.
Back from recess, the Golden Eaglets continued to show more desire and Jubril Azeez capped the momentum with his goal to make it 3-0 in the 52nd minute.
On 57 minutes. coach Paa Kwesi Fabin decided to save goalkeeper Dembarah from more embarrassment by replacing him with Shaibu Rafique.
The next minute, striker Abdul Razak Salifu – who had come off the bench at the start of second half, pulled one back for Ghana.
But Nigeria will make it 4-1 in the 78th minute through substitute Light Ike.
The Black Starlets were awarded a penalty in the 87th minute and captain Collins Agyemang expertly converted to make it 4-2.
The game ended 4-2 in favour of Nigeria who will now occupy top spot in the 3-team Group A.
The next match in Group A is a fixture between the Nigerians and Togo on Tuesday, June 14.
Hosts Ghana will be under pressure to beat cross-border neighbours Togo when they meet in the final group game on June 17.
The two teams that advance to the grand finale will go on to pick the Wafu Zone B qualification slots for the U-17 Afcon in Algeria.