•CAN 2008 quarter-finals, Ohene Djan Sports Stadium
• Ghana 2-1 Nigeria
• Yakubu Ayigbeni put Nigeria ahead
• John Mensah was red Carded
• Claude LeRoy vs Berti Vogts
Ghana 11: 4-4-2
Richard Kingson, John Paintsil, Hans Adu Sarpei, John Mensah, – Eric Addo, Anthony Annan, Micheal Essien, Sulley Muntari Quincy Owusu Abeyie – Asamoah Gyan, Junior Agogo.
H. Drama, L. Kingston, S. Adjei, B. Kumordzi, A. Barrusso, A. Ayew, N. Asare, I. Alhassan, G. Baffour, H. Afful, F. Dauda, K. Asamoah
Coach: Claude Le Roy
Nigeria 11: 4 -3-3
Austin Ejide- Danny Shitu, Joseph Yobo, Obinna Nwaneri, Taye Taiwo – Dickson Etuhu, Seyi Olofinjana, John Obi Mikel – Ikechukwu Uche, -Yakubu Ayigbeni, Peter Odemwingie
Substitutes: N. Kanu, V. Enyeama, J. Utaka, R. Afolabi, O. Martins, R. Eromoigbe, I. Emeghara, S. Makinwa, V. Obinna O. Apam, O. Okonkwo, D. Aiyenugbu
Coach: Berti Vogts
Ghana was determined to end its 26-year wait for the trophy during the 26th edition of the Africa Cup of Nations. Nigeria had suffered a huge heartbreak in 2000 against Cameroon in Lagos and was also eager to make amends and end a 14-year-old wait for another AFCON triumph since 1994.
In CAN 2008, huge games like; Ivory Coast vs Nigeria, Egypt vs Cameron, Ghana vs Cameroon, Ivory Coast vs Egypt were all played but none was as beautiful and competitive as Ghana vs Nigeria in the quarter-finals.
It was the classic of all the classic games played in the tournament.
Here, Sportsworldghana.com relives the epic encounter.
The first 25 minutes of the game was predictably nervous and chances were at a premium, as it was the host nation that almost went ahead in the 25th minute. Asamoah Gyan went closest to opening the scoring for Black Stars when his drilled effort struck the outside of a post after Micheal Essien’s precise through pass was well controlled by him.
In the 34th minute, Mohammed Benouza, Algerian referee awarded a penalty for Nigeria after Eric Addo bundled and brought down Yakubu Ayigbeni. Yakubu stepped up and cooly slotted home the penalty for Super Eagles.
In the extra time of the first half, Quincy Owusu Abeyie’s accurate cross was powerfully headed by Micheal Essien, the ball hit inside of the front post and walked into the net. 1-1, game on! Ghana headed into the break all square.
A minute into the second half, Yakubu nearly scored his second from almost 30 yards after Richard Kingson’s poor headed clearance. Ayigbeni lifted the ball from. that long-distance and Olele wonderfully tipped the ball over the bar for a corner kick.
In the second period, John Mensah was dismissed for pulling down Osaze Odemwingie.
Taye Taiwo’s powerful free kick in the 60th minute was once again saved by Richard Kingson.
The momentum swung in Nigeria’s favour, but could not capitalise on the numerical advantage.
Sulley Muntari’s delivery was stabbed in by Junior Agogo for the winning goal. The whole of the nation danced that night. Winning with 10 men is always great but doing it against your arch-rivals is the sweetest.
Source: Amakye Ansah