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Super Eagles Floor Ghana Stars As Coach Finidi George Wins First Friendly Outing 2-1

Finidi George made a great start to life as Nigeria coach, albeit as a stand-in, with the Super Eagles defeating 10-man Ghana 2-1 in a friendly in Morocco on Friday.

Cyriel Dessers converted a penalty late in the first half, and substitute Ademola Lookman added a second goal deep into the second half before Jordan Ayew scored a penalty in injury-time for Ghana.

Goals in each half from Rangers striker Cyriel Dessers and Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman were enough to secure victory against the 10-man Black Stars, who had defender Jerome Opoku sent off early in the second period.

The Super Eagles, were the stronger of the sides for much of the contest in front of a near-empty Stade de Marrakech in Morocco, although the game ended with far more uncertainty than coach Finidi George would have liked after Jordan Ayew converted a stoppage-time penalty.

Kelechi Iheanacho drew a good save from Lawrence Ati-Zigi with a powerful half-volley and almost set up an opening goal with a teasing free-kick that caused uncertainty in the Ghana penalty area.

With around seven minutes left of the first half, Dessers gave Nigeria a deserved lead from the spot after Salis Abdul Samed had been penalised for blocking a shot with his arm.

Bournemouth’s Antoine Semenyo ballooned a shot over the bar following a quick break as Ghana started the second half brightly, but any hope of a comeback was diminished when Opoku was shown a straight red card that left the handful of spectators inside the stadium baffled. It seemed unclear whether the defender, on loan from Leicester City at Belgian side OH Leuven, had been dismissed for a raised elbow in an aerial challenge or for saying something to the referee.

Ghana rallied well in their first match under new coach Otto Addo, with substitute Tariq Lamptey coming close with a curling effort from the edge of the box, but the contest was effectively ended in the 84th minute when Lookman powered home a finish from inside the box after good work from the impressive Alex Iwobi.

Yet there were to be a few nervy moments for the Super Eagles at the very end. Ayew confidently scored a penalty of his own in the fifth minute of added time, Nwabali was again called into action in the final seconds to preserve the slender lead.

Nigeria face Mali next Tuesday in another friendly before their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign resumes with a match against South Africa in June. Mali are Ghana’s next opponents in that qualification cycle, with an exhibition against Uganda next up this month.


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