After missing out on qualifying for the last edition of the World Cup held in Russia, the Black Stars of Ghana are back! The four-time African champions booked their ticket to this year's competition in Qatar by benefiting from the away goal rule following a 1-1 draw with Nigeria inside the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja on Tuesday night.
After the 0-0 draw between the pair in the first leg play-off game at Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi, Ghana, there was still all to play for although the Black Stars had the advantage. The latter, knowing that a goal will be crucial in deciding the tie, were pragmatic at the beginning of Tuesday's game, doing well to contain the attacking threat of the Super Eagles which featured the likes of Napoli's Victor Oshimen, Leicester's Ademola Lookman and Watford star Emmanuel Dennis.
However, against the run of play, Ghana took an early lead thanks to Thomas Partey's strike from long range. The Arsenal midfielder managed to struck the ball from the edge of the penalty area and was successful in squeezing it under goalkeeper Francis Uzoho in the 10th minute.
12 minutes later, a controversial penalty decision went in favor of Ademola Lookman following a VAR review, resulting in the lead being restored by William Troost-Ekong from the spot. Moments before the first half break, Victor Oshimen thought he had scored the all-important second goal for the host but was his goal being chalked off as he was spotted to have been offside in the build-up.
It was largely a matter of how long the Ghanaians could hold their nerves in the second half and they were successful in dealing with the advances of Nigerians who kept pushing for a winner. With the away goal rule in effect, the Black Stars managed to secure a historic fourth appearance at the World Cup under interim coach Otto Addo. The last time the West African country featured in the mundial was in Brazil 2014 where they were eliminated in the group stage. Prior to that, they had reached the quarter-final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa, failing to progress to the semis after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Uruguay.
In the aftermath of the encounter, angry Nigerian spectators broke protocol and stormed the field following their side's capitulation. Although there have not been any reports of casualties, scores of items at the Moshood Abiola National stadium have been vandalised, neccessitating the intervention of the riot control force. The Ghanaian players were also allegedly chased out while some of their fans were also said to have been attacked by fans of the hosts.
Ghana supporters being moved to the pitch now. A few of them were attacked in the stands. Unfortunate scenes. pic.twitter.com/Nt0ui7RcHF— Yaw (@theyawofosu) March 29, 2022
It is getting messy here. Destroying everything they can touch. Tear gas fired! pic.twitter.com/g49v8oV9Rg— Yaw (@theyawofosu) March 29, 2022