An early goal from Thomas Partey was enough to secure Ghana's place at the 2022 Qatar World Cup as they beat Nigeria on away goals after a 1-1 draw in the second leg of their qualifying play-off.
William Troost-Ekong’s penalty was not enough to stop the Black Stars from recording a famous result on enemy territory.
Ghana have a lot of improving to do if they are to do anything once they arrive in Qatar, but this represents a huge improvement on their Cup of Nations humiliation when they failed to qualify from their group.
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The game started scrappily, with Nigeria in slight ascendancy. And when, on 10 minutes, Partey took aim from just outside the box, no one familiar with his oeuvre will have expected him to score. But Francis Uzoho dived over it at the same time as spilling it, and Ghana were ahead.
Nigeria, though, responded well, and when, on 22 minutes, Ademola Lookman weaved into the box and past Daniel Amartey, Denis Odoi bumped him over; Troost-Ekong punched home the penalty.
Ghana made three changes at half-time and also changed from 4-3-3 to 3-5-2. This gave them greater midfield control, able to protect their defence and move the ball forward with something approximating to aggression.
As such, Nigeria could neither harness momentum nor sustain attacks, Victor Osimhen - the best player on the pitch in the first 45 - becoming increasingly frustrated.
So it is Ghana who move on, and though they have work to do, suddenly, the signs are positive.

TALKING POINT

Football belongs to everyone: To make sure the ground was full for an epochal game, the Nigerian FA gave away 20,000 tickets for it, and were rewarded with a raucous and partisan atmosphere. it didn’t help them get a result, but the lessons should not be lost nevertheless.

Football is far too joyous to be the preserve of the rich. One way of ensuring this is to price tickets sensibly, but another is to compel all nations – and Premier League clubs – to take whatever is left a day or two before the game and distribute them to local schools, youth clubs and charities, for free, with fines levied for every empty seat. Football belongs to everyone, and it is about time the authorities treated it as such.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Thomas Partey (Ghana) No player really stood out, but Partey's goal made the difference in the tie, and his composure was helpful in the second half.

PLAYER RATINGS

Nigeria: Uzoho 5, Aina 6, Troost-Ekong 6, Balogun 6, Bassey 6, Etebo 5, Dennis 6, Onyeka 5, Aribo 5, Lookman 6, Osimhen 7. Subs: Abdullahi 6, Simon 6, Ighalo 6, Musa 6, Sadiq 6.
Ghana: Wollacott 6, Odoi 6, Amartey 7, Djiku 7, Mensah 6, Baba 5, Partey 7, Issakahu 5, Kudus 5, Ayew 5, Afena-Gyan 6. Subs: Yiadom 6, Owusu 6, Kyereh 6, Bukari 7, Wriedt 6.

KEY MOMENTS

10’ - GOAL! Nigeria (0) 0-1 (1) Ghana (Partey) I said that this might be the worst night of someone's life, and right now, it is it! The throw ends up with Partey, a few yards outside the box and towards its left corner. He takes aim and shots - of course he does, he always does - and it's an alright effort. But Uzoho, who has it covered all the way, half dives over it, half spills it, and his tea must now score at least twice!

19’ - NIGERIA ARE COMING!
Lookman comes in off the left then Onyeka picks up the ball outside the box, takes a fine first touch that puts it in behind, powers after it, and he's in! The angle's tight, but here he comes ... and Wallacott does really well to smother.

20’ - BUT THE REF IS CHECKING VAR!
When Lookman dipped inside the box and past Amartey, Odoi sort of ran into him without playing the ball! This is going to be a penalty!

22’ - GOAL! Nigeria (1) 1-1 (1) Ghana (Troost-Ekong pen) He opens his body and punches into the right side-netting, halfway up, as Wallacott dives the other way. Uzoho is halfway to salvation!

55’ - LOOKMAN'S CORNER IS A GOODUN
Picking out Dennis in the middle! He leaps well, heads down ... and wide. That was a decent chance.

71’ - WHAT A SAVE WALLACOTT!
Nigeria win a free-kick out on the left and Aina swerves it in; Simon is up, gets to the ball... but it his the charging keeper in the face!
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