Ghana vs. Nigeria: Blunted Osimhen and the most significant stats from Black Stars, Super Eagles stalemate

Ghana vs. Nigeria: Blunted Osimhen and the most significant stats from Black Stars, Super Eagles stalemate

The Black Stars and the Super Eagles played out a 0-0 draw at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi on Friday evening in the first leg of the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.

An eventful encounter ended without a goal but with several talking points, and highlights the facts and stats you may have missed during the explosive clash.


Apart from a 1-0 friendly win at the Accra Sports Stadium on December 15, 2002, by the home-based Eagles, Nigeria have never defeated the Black Stars on Ghanaian soil.

The latest attempt to end that ugly record was unsuccessful as the Super Eagles only managed a thrilling goalless draw at the Baba Yara Stadium on Friday.

That is the 11th time a Ghana vs. Nigeria fixture will end in a stalemate since they first met on a football pitch in October 1950.

VAR debuts

Despite the lack of goals between the two African giants on Friday, the match will still go down in history as the first time VAR will be used in Ghana.

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The technology was employed once during the encounter, though, with Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed needing help with a late penalty call.

Having blown for a handball in the Ghanaian box, the official changed his mind and awarded the home side a free-kick for an earlier Kelechi Iheanacho foul on Gideon Mensah.

Maiden bows

Rangers fullback Calvin Ughelumba Bassey made his international debut for Nigeria after replacing Porto defender Zaidu Sanusi in the 74th minute.

Bassey is now cap-tied to the three-time African champions and can no longer play for Italy, his place of birth, or England, where he grew up.

After twice turning down previous invitations, AS Roma starlet Felix Afena-Gyan also made his international debut for Ghana.

Blunt attack

It was a day to shine for goalkeepers and defenders, causing attackers to struggle to deliver their A-game.

Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew attempted only one shot in 89 minutes, with his solo effort going off target.

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Afena-Gyan suffered a similar fate while youngster Abdul Fatawu Issahaku did a bit better with a fierce drive that goalkeeper Francis Uzoho brilliantly parried.

The Super Eagles’ attack was noticeably just as poor, with the attacking quartet of Victor Osimhen, Moses Simon, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Samuel Chukwueze notching just two shots on target.

Osimhen caged

While the Napoli striker got one of Nigeria’s two shots on target, his overall contribution was below the expected standard.

Always under the watchful eyes of two Ghanaian markers and suffering from poor service from his teammates, Osimhen touched the ball only 17 times.

Even more disappointingly, the 23-year-old completed just one pass all night, having attempted four.

The Super Eagles will get the chance to correct their mistakes, soar past the Black Stars and book a World Cup ticket when they host the Ghanaians in the return leg in Abuja on Tuesday. 

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