The CAF version of World Cup qualifying is a tough route for Africa’s biggest teams with only five nations making it through to the showpiece tournament, from a starting point of 54. After an initial qualifying period, 40 teams are split into 10 groups with only the winners reaching the Third Round – with the likes of Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Gabon, South Africa and Guinea all dropping out.
There were also some tough draws in the Third and final round, including Ghana against Nigeria. The first game between these two sides finished goalless on Friday but it does mean Ghana have the slight upper hand.
Although UEFA’s club competitions have got rid of the away goals rule, it still stands in most international qualifying tournaments including the CAF route. So, having kept a clean sheet at home, Ghana know even scoring one goal would put the pressure on Nigeria and the Black Stars would progress with any score draw.
It was no real surprise that the first leg was a tight fixture as both Nigeria and Ghana advanced through their groups with 13 points from six games, winning four, drawing one and losing once. Ghana were only ranked as the lower team, getting the first leg at home, as a result their goal difference against Nigeria. This will be an equally tight encounter but someone has to win and book their trip to Qatar.
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Nigeria vs Ghana: Match Stats
Although Nigeria and Ghana are blessed with attacking talent, they have also been strong defensively in World Cup qualifying. Both sides conceded just three goals in their six group stage games and never let in more than one in a single match. Then, of course, there’s the goalless draw just a few days ago.
As previously started, Ghana have the advantage going into this game knowing that a score draw would be enough for them to qualify for the World Cup. They had the slightly better performance in the first leg and dealt with the threat of Victor Osimhen well and will take confidence from it.
25 March 2022 – Ghana 0-0 Nigeria – World Cup Qualifying
11 November 2011 – Ghana 0-0 Nigeria – Friendly
28 January 2020 – Ghana 1-0 Nigeria – Africa Cup of Nations
3 February 2008 – Ghana 2-1 Nigeria – Africa Cup of Nations
6 February 2007 – Nigeria 1-4 Ghana – Friendly
Last week’s game was the first time Nigeria and Ghana had faced off in over 10 years, and continued the Black Stars’ recent dominance in this fixture. Ghana are now unbeaten in five games against their West African rivals, including two wins at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2008 and 2010. Nigeria’s last victory in this fixture came back in 2006 in the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations, the final match of a seven-game unbeaten run.