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2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations Qualifying WAFU-B: Nigeria open up competition with convincing win over Ghana

Qualifying for the 2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations kicked off on Saturday for the WAFU-Zone B region with its two most historically successful teams squaring off as hosts Ghana fell 4-2 to Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets in Cape Coast. Emmanuel Micheal, Precious Williams, Jubril Azeez and Ebube Okere all scored for Nigeria with the result never looking in doubt. Abdul Salifu and Collins Agyemange struck back for the Black Starlets.

It was a positive start for Nigeria, the Golden Eaglets striking the post inside the opening ten minutes when Azeez moved in from the right wing and hitting the woodwork. Only a few minutes later Nigeria took the lead when Micheal curled in a free kick from 21 yards out to beat Ghana goalkeeper Ahmed Amadu Dembaram. Nigeria doubled their lead in the 44th minute when a long range effort was spilled by Dembaram into the path of Williams who had no issues dispatching the rebound.

Ghana continued to struggle to get going and it was Nigeria who tripled their lead soon after the halftime break. A clearance attempt from the Ghanaian defense bounced back off a Nigerian player towards goal and Dembaram failed to claim the loose ball as Azeez managed sneak around the keeper and finish past a defender on the line. The hosts finally got one back in the 58th minute when Salifu took down a cross and kept his calm in the Nigerian penalty area, navigating past a defender before finishing low.

However, cutting the deficit to two goals was as close as Ghana got as poor marking on a corner kick allowed Okere to finish with ease from seven yards out with no defenders around him. Agyemang put away an 88th minute penalty kick to give the Black Starlets one last consolation but there remains plenty of work to be done for Ghana to get their tournament back on track.

Highlights of the match are below. Nigeria will face Togo in the next match in Group A on Tuesday.

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