The group stages of the WAFU Cup 2017 currently on going in Ghana got off to a blistering start when Mali held Nigeria to a goalless draw and Ghana dispersed Guinea 2-0 in the second half.
Nigeria vs Mali
Neither Mali’s Eagles nor Nigeria’s Super Eagles got a goal as the two sides played a goalless draw in the opening Group A match of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Thursday, September 14.
Mali’s Mohammed Traore failed to convert a begging chance when a loose ball fell for him to tap home but he chose to volley the ball off target.
Ten minutes later the Super Eagles had their first shot on goal when Uche Akas fired a stinging 22-yard free-kick into the arms of the Malian keeper.
Nigeria’s Stephen Eze could have save the night for the Green Eagles after 33 minutes of play but his powerful header connect was parried over the bar by the attentive goal keeper for Mali.
Neither side could break the deadlock before the half time whistle.
The first opportunity in the second half came for Mali’s Boubacar Samassekou but his ten-yard header sailed over the Nigerian goal.
Nigeria piled enough pressure to get a goal in the last 10 minutes of the game but the best was to hit the cross bar for which the match ended goalless.
Nigeria’s next Group A match will take place on Saturday, September 16 against Guinea while Mali will face Ghana on the same day.
Mali (0) 0
Nigeria (0) 0
Mali coach: Nouhoum Diane
Mali: 16. Diarra, 13. I Samake, 4 Samassekou, 15. I Traore, 14. L Samake, 17. M Traore (2. Bah 64’), 6. Konte, 8. Coulibaly, 7. Malle (10. Niangadou 77’), 11. Kone, 9. Kida (18. Dieng 65’).
Nigeria coach: Salisu Yusuf
Nigeria: 1. Esenwa, 2. Okoro, 6. Eze, 5. Ariwachukwu, 3. Akas, 4Aremu, 8. Ifeanyi (17. Ashadi 62’), 10. Ali, 7. John, 14. Gabriel (9. Okpotu 76’), 18. Eduwo (11. P Moses 61’)
Ghana vs Guinea
Berekum Chelsea striker Stephen Sarfo and substitute Razak Patrick got two goals in the second half to ensure Ghana secure the first three points in Group A at the expense of Guinea
Though Ghana created begging chances in the first half, the strikers failed to convert leaving the first half barren.
In the tenth minute Winnful Cobbina had the first real chance when he drove into the box, beating two defenders before firing narrowly over from the edge of the box.
In 19th minute Guinea manufactured their first opening when Seydouba Camara found himself in space 20-yards out, but his shot shaved the wrong side of the post.
On the half hour mark Guinea were on the attack again with Ibrahima Camara driving into the box from the left flank, but his powerful 14-yard strike hit the side-netting.
Just before the first half whistle was blown, Ghana came close again when Gideon Waja shot a long range, but unfortunately his direction was poor and the shot sailed over.
Three minutes into the second half the Black Stars took the lead when a cross from the right by Felix Addo was turned home by the chest of Stephen Sarfo from four yards out, 1-0.
Some minutes later, Stephen Sarfo had tried making it two but his supposed goal was ruled offside by the assistant referee.
Seven minutes later the Black Stars did find their second goal after two substitutes combined when Razak Patrick headed a right wing cross back into the path of Kwame Kizito and he duly headed home from close range, 2-0.
After 84 minutes, Guinea’s Seydouba Camara pulled a goal back when his spectacular 30-yard free-kick from struck the woodwork and bounced away from danger.
Ghana (0) 2 (Stephen Safro 48’, Kizito 77’)
Guinea (0) 0
Ghana coach: Maxwell Konadu
Ghana: 1. J Addo, 2. Frimpong, 12. S. Safro, 5. Atingah, 6. Abbey, 9. I Addo (17. Patrick 64’), 18. Lomotey, 7. Twum, 10. Cobbina, 8. Waja (14. Adams 91’), 15. K Safro (13. Kizito 72’).
Guinea coach: Hamidou Camara
Guinea: 1. A Sylla, 2. A Camara, 4. N Camara, 5. Conde, 3. I Sylla, 17. Bangoura (12. N’Diaye 52’), 8. A Camara, 13. Jean (18. Diallo 75’), 10. S Camara, 11. Keita (7. Sory Camara 63’), 9 I Camara.