Ghana has gone through to the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal stage as winner of Group B after topping Niger 3-0 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The Black Stars are to face upstart Cape Verde in the next round after captain Asamoah Gyan, Christian Atsu and defender John Boye gave them a convincing victory to send the Mena packing.
Niger started the game the more hungry of the sides, as the Mena looked to seal the upset that would have guaranteed them progression into the next round, causing the Ghanaian defense a number of uncomfortable moments early on.
It was the Black Stars who struck first though, hitting the Mena on the counter in the 6th minute. Albert Adomah’s cut back from the right found Gyan, who controlled well before smashing home his first goal of the tournament to give the Ghanaians the 1-0 lead.
Niger still kept going forward, and after poor control from Moussa Maazou and some last-ditch defending from John Boye, the Mena thought they had found the equalizer. Sidibe Modibo’s strike was disallowed for a foul by Maazou on goalkeeper Fatau Dauda in the build-up to the goal, though.
All the concentration going forward was leaving Niger vulnerable at the back, and Ghana hit on the counterattack again as Atsu played a delightful one-two with the Gyan, whose return pass was perfectly placed to allow the Porto man to control on his chest before slotting the ball into the bottom corner for his first goal of the tournament.
The Ghanaians put the game away with their third goal, as Dauda could only parry Gyan’s header from a free kick into the feet of Boye, who bundled it home.
The win means Ghana finished atop Group B with seven points, while Niger will be taking comfort from the fact that it managed to represent its country in a second consecutive Africa Cup of Nations and will be going back to Niamey with the nation’s first point at the tournament.