Ghana shine to reach Africa Cup last eight
Ghana qualified in style for the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations with a convincing 3-0 win over Niger here on Monday.
The Black Stars thus finished top of Group B with seven points from three matches and will be joined by Mali, who were second on four points, in the knockout stage of the competition.
Ghana posted a master-class display and took their chances very well, while Niger lacked ideas going forward.
Skipper Asamoah Gyan opened his Nations Cup account with a well-taken strike after just six minutes.
He combined well with Albert Adomah before he drove through from the left to fire right-footed past Daouda Kassaly in the Niger goal.
Ghana doubled their advantage on 23 minutes with a well-worked goal, which was initiated by Christian Atsu and also finished by the exciting FC Porto ace.
Atsu, in for the suspended Mubarak Wakaso, combined with Gyan before he finished off the move coolly with a clever tap-in.
The enterprising Badu would have made it 3-0 four minutes from the interval, but he was denied by Kassaly, who clutched his shot from inside the goal area.
However, John Boye rammed home a rebound in the 49th minute for Ghana's third after Kassaly could not hold on to a powerful header by Gyan.
Gyan could have compounded Niger's misery in the 63rd minute but he failed to get hold of a high cross right inside the box when face-to-face with goalkeeper Kassaly.
Niger did have their moments, though.
Moussa Maazou's low cross from the right after two minutes was cleared into the side-netting by defender Isaac Vorsah.
In the ninth minute, Rennes defender Boye had to double up to stop hard-running Sidibe Modibo from causing havoc from a Boubacar Talatou low drive.
And from the resulting corner, Niger put the ball in the net through Ghana-born Kofi Dankwa, but Maazou was adjudged to have fouled the goalkeeper.
Another Maazou low cross was too hard and too long for Modibo to get a foot to as it beat the entire Black Stars defence.
In the 55th minute, Maazou failed to direct his header at goal and moments later, he delivered another low drive, which beat both Modibo and his Ghana markers.
Issiakou Koudize also let fly from the top of the box in the 57th minute but his effort missed target.
Substitute Issoufou Boubacar forced a fine save from Abul-Fatawu Dauda in the 76th minute with a curling shot from the left.
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