Sarfo Stephen Kwadwo celebrates goal with teammate Cobbina Winnful Essua of Ghana during the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations Final match between Ghana and Nigeria at Cape Coast Sports Stadium in Cape Coast, Ghana on 24 September 2017 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix
Sunday Sep 24, 2017. 22:01
Ghana were crowned the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations champions after thumping Nigeria 4-1 in the final at Cape Coasts Sports Stadium on Sunday, September 24.
A brace from Stephen Sarfo, a penalty from Vincent Atingah and an injury time strike from Winnful Cobbinah saw the Black Stars defend their 2013 title.
It was a cagey start to the game from both teams with neither venturing too far forward early on.
The first real effort on goal came in the 15th minute courtesy of a long range strike from Ghana’s Emmanuel Lomotey, but his 25-yard effort sailed inches wide of the post.
Emmanuel Lomotey was in the thick of the action again ten minutes later, pouncing on a loose ball inside the box but he was magnificently denied by the acrobatics of the Nigerian keeper from 14-yards out.
The Super Eagles shot-stopper, Ikechukwu Ezenwa, was definitely at his best in the 35th minute with another superb save, diving low to his left to turn a low 18-yard shot from Isaac Twum around the post.
Nigeria suffered a set-back in the 40th minute when central defender Olamilekan Adeleye Aniyikaye had to leave the field injured and was replaced by Emmanuel Ariwachukwu.
A minute before the break Ghana made their continued pressure tell when Stephen Sarfo fired the Super Eagles in front with a thunderous strike from the edge of the box, 1-0.
The start of the second half failed to produce any fireworks until the 58th minute when substitute Patrick Razak was fouled inside the box, only a minute after coming on, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot.
Vincent Atingah stepped up for the Nigerians and doubled their lead with a well-placed spot-kick, 2-0.
In the 77th minute Patrick Razak won yet another penalty after driving into the box and being cut-down following a reckless tackle by Stephen Eze.
This time Stephen Sarfo stepped-up for Nigeria to score his second goal of the game and put the result beyond doubt, 3-0.
The only down side for the Ghana was the expulsion of Vincent Atingah after receiving his second yellow card in the 90th minute.
The icing on the cake, though, for the Black Stars was their fourth goal which was scored by Winnful Cobbinah in the 93rd minute following a goalmouth scramble inside the box, 4-0.
Nigeria did find some consolation with a goal of their own courtesy of a 22-yard free-kick from Rabiu Ali which found the top corner of the net, but it was too little too late as the game ended 4-1.
Ghana (1) 4 (Stephen Sarfo 44’ + 78’ pen, Atingah 60’ pen, Cobbinah 93’)
Nigeria (0) 1 (Ali 95’)
Ghana coach: Maxwell Konadu
Ghana: 1. J Addo, 2. Frimpong, 12. S Sarfo, 5. Atingah, 6. Abbey, 10. Cobbinah, 18. Lomotey, 7. Twum, 8. Waja (17. Razak 57’), 15. K Sarfo (9. Addo 81’), 13. Kizito (14. Adams 68’).
Nigeria coach: Salisu Yusuf
Nigeria: 1. Ezenwa, 2. Okoro, 6. Eze, 12. Aniyikaye (5. Ariwachukwu 40’), 3. Akas, 4. Aremu, 8. Ifeanyi, 7. Friday (14. Okechukwu 46’), 11. P Moses, 10. Ali, 9. Okpotu (18. Eduwo 70’).