Jan 28, 2013 at 5pm UK
Niger
0-3
Ghana
 
FT

Live Commentary: Niger 0-3 Ghana - as it happened

Ghana's Mubarak Wakaso (hidden) is congratulated on his goal against Mali by Kwadwo Asamoah on January 24, 2013
© AP Photos
Re-live all the action between Niger and Ghana with Sports Mole's minute-by-minute text commentary.

Ghana took on Niger in their final Group B game at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations knowing that a draw would be enough for them to progress to the quarter-finals.

The Black Stars went a step better, as they won the group courtesy of a 3-0 victory at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth.

Asamoah Gyan and Christian Atsu scored in the first half for Ghana and John Boye found the target in the opening minutes of the second period.

Read how it all unfolded in our minute-by minute live commentary below.


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4.32pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole’s live coverage of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations game between Niger and Ghana. This is a Group B game with both sides still having the chance to progress to the quarter-finals.

4.34pmHeading into today’s clash, Ghana find themselves at the top of the group with four points from two matches. A draw will be enough for the Black Stars to book a place in the quarter-finals, while a win will ensure that they win the group.

4.36pmNiger too have the chance to make it through to the knockout stages. They just have a point, but a win could give them the runners-up place depending on what happens in the other Group B game today - that between DR Congo and Mali.

4.38pmTeam news coming up now...

4.40pmNIGER STARTING XI: Daouda, Bachard, Dankwa, Chicoto, Kourouma, Koudize, Soumaila, Lancina, Talatou, Maazou, Sidibe
Subs: Alzouma, Kader, James, Laouali, Kamilou, Dante, Sakou, Boubacar, Alassane, William, Moutari

4.42pmGHANA STARTING XI: Dauda, Pantsil, Boye, Vorsah, Afful, Agyemang-Badu, Rabiu, Adomah, Asamoah, Atsu, Gyan
Subs: Agyei, Richard Boateng, Awal, Annan, Derek Boateng, Akaminko, Asante, Clottey, Boakye, Mensah, Kwarasey

4.45pmAs we wait for kickoff at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, let’s hear from the two camps. First up is Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan: "I didn't know much about them until I saw their first game against Mali. They are a very organised team and they fight - I think they can cause harm to us but we aren't looking at that. We are Ghanaians and we are looking forward to a win. So it's not going to be easy but we'll be trying our hardest to get a maximum three points and qualify for the next stage."

4.48pmNiger coach Gernot Rohr: "For the motivation it [playing Ghana] is wonderful. We are a little country of football and we are playing against a big country of football - so we will have a beautiful game. We had a lot of chances to score a goal, we could have beaten DR Congo - now we hope that against Ghana we will play a good game. I've seen that the crowd [in Port Elizabeth] was with us and it was a good atmosphere in the stadium and I hope my players will do the same against Ghana."

4.51pmLet’s go through the situation in Group B at the moment. If Ghana draw against Niger, then they will certainly progress to the quarter-finals irrespective of what happens in the game between DR Congo and Mali. If they win today, then they will win Group B.

4.53pmNiger will progress to the quarter-finals if they win tonight and DR Congo and Male draw.

4.55pmThe national anthems of the two teams are being played now, as kickoff is just around five minutes away in Port Elizabeth.

0 minAnd the game is underway...

2 minIt has been a slow-ish start to the game in a stadium that has quite a number of empty seats. I would have thought that there would be more spectators for today’s game.

4 minThere has been an early goal in the other game in this group. DR Congo are leading Mali 1-0, thanks to Robert Kidiaba’s penalty.

6 minGOAL! Niger 0-1 Ghana (Gyan)

7 minWonderful goal from Asamoah Gyan to put Ghana 1-0 up against Niger. Albert Adomah provides a good ball from the right that Gyan slots in from close range.

9 minGhana should be now be confident than they were at the start of the match, now that they are 1-0 ahead. A draw will still be good for the Black Stars to progress to the quarter-finals.

10 minGOAL RULED OUT! Niger have the ball inside the Ghana goal but their striker has been ruled out! Koffi Dan Kowa turns the ball into the net but Moussa Maazou is adjudged to have committed a foul in the buildup.

11 minNiger are not getting intimidated, I have to say. They are taking the game to their more illustrious opponents at the moment despite being 1-0 down.

15 minWe have played 15 minutes in this game and it is Ghana who lead 1-0. Niger have had a goal disallowed that should probably have stood.

16 minI am hearing of another goal in Durban. Mali have just equalised against DR Congo. It is now 1-1 in that match.

18 minIt has become scrappy now, to be honest. Niger are lacking in invention and structure, while Ghana seem quietly confident after their goal and are not really showing any kind of urgency.

20 minYELLOW CARD Oh, bad challenge from Issiaka Koudize on Gyan around 25 yards away from the Niger goal. It is a really bad challenge - he just clatters into Gyan’s back!

21 minCHANCE! Gyan takes the free kick and gets it past the wall, but curls the ball straight into the hands of Daouda.

23 minGOAL! Niger 0-2 Ghana (Atsu)

24 minGhana are running away with this match now, as they take a 2-0 lead midway the first half. Gyan is again involved in the goal as he runs down the left and from inside the Niger penalty area floats in a cross. Christian Atsu chests it down to the back post and fires it in from just yards out.

26 minGhana have not really been dominating in this match so far, but they have taken their chances and that is what matters. Niger really need to pull something out of the hat if they are still intent of progressing to the quarter-finals.

28 minOh, Ghana are about to launch another good attacking move from the midfield but they fail to get the final killer ball to Gyan, who was lurking near the Niger penalty box. Gyan has been the pick of the players in this encounter so far.

29 minYELLOW CARD Mohamed Chikoto received a yellow card three minutes back for his challenge on Kwadwo Asamoah. He is the second Niger player to have booked tonight.

30 minHalf an hour gone, and Ghana lead Niger 2-0. The Black Stars are winning without really playing exceptionally well, but when they are attacking, they look very threatening indeed.

33 minYELLOW CARD Badu becomes the first Ghana player this evening to be booked now.

34 minGhana surge forward once again and are able to creep inside the Niger box, but then fail to retain their cool or think creatively.

35 minCHANCE! Good chance for Niger that goes to waste! They launch a counter-attack as Maazou runs down the right flank and drills in a low cross that just evades Sidibe.

38 minMaybe it is too early to make any prediction, but I cannot see any way for Niger to launch a comeback in this game. They are 2-0 down to Ghana, who are controlling possession and making all the attacking moves. If Niger fail to score a goal between now and the half-time break, then they may as well relinquish their hopes of a quarter-final berth.

38 minMaybe it is too early to make any prediction, but I cannot see any way for Niger to launch a comeback in this game. They are 2-0 down to Ghana, who are controlling possession and making all the attacking moves. If Niger fail to score a goal between now and the half-time break, then they may as well relinquish their hopes of a quarter-final berth.

40 minFive minutes to half time and there is little meaningful action, to be honest. It has been a largely scrappy affair with occasional instances of quality, so I don’t expect the game to pick up momentum in the final minutes before the break.

43 minCHANCE! Brilliant attacking move from Ghana, who have Asamoah galloping down the left after being released by Vorsah. He drills in a low cross for Badu to fire in on the Niger goal. Unfortunately for him, Daouda makes a good save. Ghana fail to capitalise on the resulting corner.

45 minJust a minute of injury time has been added at the end of the first half.

45+1 minHALF-TIME: Niger 0-2 Ghana

5.48pmIt’s half time at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth where Ghana lead Niger 2-0. Asamoah Gyan scored the opening goal of the evening as early as the sixth minute and then provided the assist for Christian Atsu to make it 2-0 to the Black Stars on 23 minutes.

5.50pmI have to say that Ghana are deservedly 2-0 ahead. They have not looked exceptionally brilliant, but they have taken their chances and have been the better side. Gyan and Asamoah have been very threatening going on the attack, and so has Atsu, keeping the Niger defenders on the tenterhooks all evening.

5.52pmNiger have had a few decent chances, but their gameplan to loft in long balls to Maazou has simply not worked so far. They have shown no creativity or invention, and I doubt if they will be able to step up their game in the second period. Having said that, I should also point out that Niger did have a goal disallowed in the 10th minute...

5.55pmAs it stands, Ghana will win Group B with seven points from three matches and Niger will be knocked out of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. It is also half time in the other game in Group B in which DR Congo are drawing 1-1 with Mali. If it ends that way in Durban, then Mali will finish as the runners-up in the group.

5.57pmThe second half is just minutes away. Will we see an amazing Niger comeback in the second 45 minutes, or will Ghana score more goals and have party this evening? Stay tuned on this page to find out...

6pmThe two sets of players are now on the pitch and the second half is about to get underway...

45 minThe second half gets underway now. Ghana lead Niger 2-0 from the first 45 minutes...

47 minThe first-half pattern continues - Ghana control possession and Niger chase the ball. Some things never change...

48 minGOAL! Niger 0-3 Ghana (Boye)

49 minGhana go 3-0 up in the opening minutes of the second half and have surely wrapped up the points now! Niger give away a free kick in a poor position which when floated in is headed on goal by Gyan. Daouda makes a good save, but John Boye taps in the rebound from just two yards.

50 minIt is surely all over in Port Elizabeth, as I see no way that Niger can score four goals in the next 40 or so minutes.

51 minYELLOW CARD Koffi Dan Kowa goes into the referee’s book.

53 minCHANCE! Niger make a last-ditch clearance as Asamoah drills in a low cross from the left that Gyan was hoping to get at the end of.

54 minMISS! Maazou heads just wide! Niger go on a rare attack and a cross is floated in from the left that Maazou rises above two defenders, but heads wide of the near post.

58 minAnother half-chance for Niger, once again a cross is floated in from the left - this time by Kourouma - that Ghana head away from danger. Niger are actually showing more urgency and intensity than they showed in the whole 45 minutes!

60 minSUBSTITUTION Niger make their first change of the game. Amadou Kader comes on for Mohamed Bacha.

61 minSUBSTITUTION Another change for Niger. Issiaka Koudize goes off for Boubacar Issoufou.

62 minCHANCE! Ghana go close again, as Badu releases Gyan inside the area with a quick pass, but the goalscorer shot is saved easily by Daouda.

63 minCHANCE! Another chance goes abegging for Ghana and again it is Gyan who fails to make the most of this opportunity. Asamoah puts in a cross from the left that the striker tries to volley home at the far post, but fails to connect with the ball properly and sees it go wide.

64 minSUBSTITUTION Now Ghana make their first change of the evening. Albert Adomah is replaced by Solomon Asante.

66 minPoor free kick from Niger from a good position, as Dauda has no problem in claiming it.

69 minGyan seems desperate to make up for his missed chances in the second half as he tries to curl in from outside the box into the top corner, but Daouda reads him perfectly and makes a comfortable save.

70 minTwenty minutes remain in his match and Ghana still lead Niger 3-0. In the other game in Group B, Mali are drawing 1-1 with DR Congo. If both results stay this way until the final whistle, then Ghana and Mali will progress to the quarter-finals as group winners and runners-up respectively.

72 minSUBSTITUTION Another change for Ghana. Mohammed Rabiu goes off and on comes Derek Boateng.

76 minCHANCE! Dauda makes a good save for Ghana as he keeps out an effort that was going into his top left corner.

78 minSUBSTITUTION Ghana make their third and final change of the evening. Emmanuel Clottey replaces Asamoah Gyan.

79 minSUBSTITUTION It’s Niger’s turn to make their final change of the evening. Alhassane Issoufou comes on for Issa Modibo Sidibe.

80 minTen minutes of normal time left in this game. Both sides appear happy to run down the clock - Ghana know that they are through to the quarter-finals as Group B winners, while Niger know that they are going home.

83 minI have been impressed with the pace and liveliness of Asante and Clottey since they came on as substitutes in the second half. Both are full of energy and are eager to push their team forward by being inventive and creative.

85 minFive minutes remain now. It’s just a mere formality for Ghana to be announced as the winner of the match.

87 minYELLOW CARD Awful and cynical challenge by Soumaila on Asante in the midfield just as the Ghana substitute was stepping on the gas to go on a marauding run for goal. And the Niger player rightly gets booked for committing the foul.

88 minGhana continue to hold on to the ball as there are just under two minutes of normal time remaining in this match. It is still 1-1 between Mali and DR Congo in the other Group B match in Durban.

90 minFour minutes of injury time have been added - four minutes before Ghana can celebrate their place in the quarter-finals of Africa’s most prestigious competition.

90+3 minGhana are just playing the ball and waiting for the referee to blow the final whistle. It’s just a matter of seconds before the referee obliges.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Niger 0-3 Ghana

6.53pmIt’s all over at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth where Ghana have defeated Niger 3-0 to win the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Group B and progress to the quarter-finals where they will face Cape Verde. Asamoah Gyan put the Black Stars in the lead after just six minutes and then Christian Atsu made it 2-0 midway through the first half. John Boye ascertained the win for Ghana with their third goal of the evening in the opening minutes of the second half.

6.55pmI hope that you enjoyed the live coverage of the match here on Sports Mole. We will have more live coverage of all sports during this week, so stay tuned to follow them. Have a good night. It’s goodbye from me for now.

Congo DR's Tresor Mputu scores the equaliser against Ghana on January 20, 2013
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