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Sports News of Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Source: Watford Observer

International Friendly: Ghana 0-0 Nigeria

The fans took the plaudits as rivals Ghana and Nigeria battled out a rather uninspiring goalless draw in tonight’s international friendly at Vicarage Road, with an estimated live TV audience of 30 million watching on from across Africa and beyond.

Dressed colourfully, both sets of supporters were in good heart and humour from the off and at least two bands in the Rookery ensured the game was played to a constant musical accompaniment.

The game though, did not match the efforts of the fans as after a first half that suggested goals could be forthcoming after the break, the predictable flurry of substitutions helped lessen the game as a spectacle to the extent that it fizzled out.

Ghana were on the front foot from the outset and Bristol City’s Albert Adomah had their first half chance in the seventh minute, sending a dipping 20-yard volley over Austine Ejide’s bar.

The lively Adomah created their next chance four minutes later, receiving the ball on the right before crossing towards the near post where Bursaspor striker Prince Tagoe headed down into the ground and keeper Ejide, who plays his club football in Israel, was able to save.

The Black Stars continued to dominate and Tagoe head the next opportunity, hitting a right-footed drive from the edge of the area straight at the keeper.

Nigeria gradually started to come into the contest in an attacking sense as the midway point of the half approached and their opponents were nearly the architects of their own downfall when John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah both left a low cross from Ikechukwu Uche, keeper Adam Kwarasey didn’t come and then watched nervously as the ball drifted wide of his left-hand post.

But that was to be the catalyst for a good spell of Nigerian pressure. First Dynamo Kiev striker Ideye Brown hit a 20-yard shot that had Kwarasey beaten only to rebound off the bar and then his forward partner, Real Zaragoza’s Uche, forced the Norwegian-based stopper into a smart stop low to his left.

That was to be the last chance of note before the interval, although both sides continued to be positive and play at a decent tempo.

Ghana made three changes at the start of the second half, including bringing on star striker Asamoah Gyan, but it was their opponents who had the first chance after the break, with Joel Obi firing over from the edge of the area.

Gyan had his first chance to impress in the 52nd minute when Leicester City’s John Pantstil burst forward from right-back and crossed, but the striker, on loan to UAE outfit Al Ain from Sunderland, headed over.

The second half became increasingly scrappy though, as the substitutions continued with the all too predictable effect on proceedings.

However, Obinna Nsofor created an opportunity for himself with 19 minutes remaining when he cut in off the left, easily beating Mensah to open up a decent chance, only to get his finish all wrong and drag the ball harmlessly wide of the near post.

Ghana had another half chance soon after when a poor free-kick from the right was partially headed clear to the on-rushing Anthony Annan, who did well to strike a left-footed drive first time but Ejide was not unduly troubled.

Annan had similar effort from closer range blocked soon after but that was as close as either side got to scoring as the game petered out.

Ghana: Kwarasey; Pantsil, Vorsah, Mensah, Alhassan (Addy 66); Mohammed (Badu 54), Annan; Adomah (Adiyiah 54), Asamoah (Muntari 46), Owusu-Abeyie (Inkoom 46); Tagoe (Gyan 46). Not used: Agyei, Frimpong and Boateng.

Nigeria: Ejide; Ambrose, Yobo, Adeleye, Taye; Musa (K Uche 60), Ogude, Obi (Mikel 70), Nsofor (Obasi 80); Brown (Emenike (74), I Uche (Utaka 86). Not used: Ekpo, Ekigho, Chigozie, Gege and Echiejile.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.