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Sports News of Sunday, 27 February 2022


Looking ahead to Ghana v Nigeria - World Cup qualifier

Black Stars Black Stars

After suffering an epic failure at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, Ghana will battle Nigeria for a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The two of the continent's most famous footballing countries will lock horns in a mammoth two-legged tie in late March.

Ghana will host the first leg on March 25 before travelling to Nigeria for the return fixture four days later, with the country's hopes of reaching their first World Cup finals since 2014 on the line.

The live soccer odds for this two-legged tie slightly favour Nigeria – while the Ghanaians missed out on qualifying for the 2018 edition in Russia, the Nigerians have featured in the last three World Cup finals.

Hard times for Ghana

The Black Stars headed into the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations as one of the outside favourites to conquer the competition.

With most of their star players at the peak of their powers, Milovan Rajevac's men were hopeful of taking home their first continental crown since 1982.

Paired together with defending champions Morocco, Gabon and Comoros, they looked to be in a prime position to qualify for the knock-outs along with the Atlas Lions.

Little did anyone know Andre Ayew and co would exit the tournament already in the group stages without a single win to their name.

Indeed, barring a 1-1 draw with Gabon, the Ghanaians lost their remaining two group matches to Morocco and Comoros, breaking the nation's hearts.

Ghana's thoroughly disappointing result in the most prestigious African competition saw the now ex-head coach Rajevac relieved of his duties earlier this month.

Former Black Stars international Otto Addo was appointed as the interim manager for the country's upcoming qualifying play-offs against Nigeria.

Unlike Ghana, the Super Eagles advanced to the 2021 AFCON knock-out stages as Group D winners, racking up all nine points in the group phase.

But Tunisia proved a tall order in the first knock-out round, ousting Augustine Eguavoen's side, courtesy of a hard-fought 1-0 win in the last-16.

Revenge-poised tie

Ghana and Nigeria last met in the World Cup qualifying in the 2001 group stages, with the Black Stars falling to a dreadful 3-0 defeat that eventually cost them a place at '2002 Korea/Japan.'

However, the Ghanaians crashed the Super Eagles out of the Africa Cup of Nations knock-outs in three consecutive final tournaments between 2008 and 2014.

So the Nigerians will be driven by vengeance when the two nations square off at the Cape Coast Stadium on March 25.