Ghana’s Black Stars secured a 1-1 draw with Nigeria’s Super Eagles at the Abuja National Stadium on Tuesday, as they became the first African side to book a place at the World Cup in Qatar.
Ghana advanced to the finals on the away goals rule after the first leg edded goalless on Friday and will take part in their fourth World Cup after appearing in three in a row between 2006 and 2014.
The Black Stars took the lead after 10 minutes when Partey’s speculative shot from outside the penalty-box squirmed under goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
The Super Eagles equalised after Denis Odoi clattered into Ademola Lookman in the box resulting in a penalty. William Troost-Ekong’s stood his ground and his thunderous spot-kick nestled right in the top corner.
Nigeria had qualified for six of the previous seven World Cups dating back to the United States in 1994, and their absence from this year’s tournament will spark an inquest from the country’s football authorities.
The win was a major triumph for Ghana in a qualification campaign in which they never really impressed and had looked a shadow of the side that reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 2010.
They defended for much of the 90 minutes in Abuja, rarely looking threatening after they scored, but also faced few alarms themselves from a Nigeria side devoid of attacking threat.
Nigeria thought they had a second when Victor Osimhen scored, but the VAR correctly ruled he was offside in the build-up.
Emmanuel Dennis headed wide for the home side in the second-half and Osimhen sent a bicycle-kick past the post, but it was largely comfortable for Ghana in the closing stages as they held on to the dismay of most of the 60,000 supporters in Abuja.