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Jan 28, 2013 at 5pm UK

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

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.

Hello 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.

Heading 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.

Niger 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.

Team news coming up now...

NIGER 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

GHANA 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

As 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."

Niger 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."

Let’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.

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

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

And the game is underway...

It 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.

There 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.

GOAL! Niger 0-1 Ghana (Gyan)

Wonderful 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.

Ghana 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.

GOAL 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.

Niger 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.

We 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.

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

It 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.

YELLOW 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!

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

GOAL! Niger 0-2 Ghana (Atsu)

Ghana 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.

Ghana 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.

Oh, 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.

YELLOW 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.

Half 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.

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

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

CHANCE! 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.

Maybe 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.

Maybe 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.

Five 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.

CHANCE! 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.

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

HALF-TIME: Niger 0-2 Ghana

It’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.

I 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.

Niger 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...

As 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.

The 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...

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

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

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

GOAL! Niger 0-3 Ghana (Boye)

Ghana 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.

It 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.

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

CHANCE! 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.

MISS! 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.

Another 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!

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

SUBSTITUTION Another change for Niger. Issiaka Koudize goes off for Boubacar Issoufou.

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

CHANCE! 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.

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

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

Gyan 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.

Twenty 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.

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

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

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

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

Ten 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.

I 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.

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

YELLOW 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.

Ghana 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.

Four 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.

Ghana 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.

FULL TIME: Niger 0-3 Ghana

It’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.

I 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.

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