Niger beat giants Ghana 2-0 in Oran on Saturday to reach their semi-finals of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) for the first time.
An own goal from Konadu Yiadom and a stunner from Soumana Hainikoye Boubacar helped the Menas to the decisive victory at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in the Algerian city.
Niger, in their third outing at the stadium in Oran, showed a good mastery of the pitch as they have gone three games without conceding a goal and did not allow the Ghanaians to play their normal game to control affairs.
Coach Harouna Doula’s team took the lead in the 11th minute when Imarana Dan Baro’s shot deflected off the head of Yiadom to beat goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim.
The Black Galaxies then took total control of ball possession but found it hard to go past a solid Mena defence with the pressure rather on the Ghanaian shot-stopper.
Goalkeeper Danlad was kept busy all night, as Abdoul Aziz Ibrahim, Imarana Dan Baro and Faycal Abdoulaye piled pressure on the Ghanaians and tested him on as many occasions.
Niger returned from the pause looking more determined, as they multiplied onslaughts in Ghana’s defence. Those efforts yielded dividends in the 50th minute when Soumana Hainikoye Boubacar curled in from the edge of the box to double Niger’s lead.
Coach Annor Walker made some substitutions for the Black Galaxies, bringing in more offensive options and shortly afterwards Abdoul Aziz headed away Dennis Korsah’s goal-bound effort.
Kwame Otu thought he had pulled one back for Ghana in the 65th minute, but his goal was ruled out after he fouled an opponent in the build-up.
Augustine Agyapong offered more attacking options for the Black Galaxies, but Niger’s full-back Adamou Djibo stood tall to repel all the threats he provided.
Thoughts of a possible comeback for Ghana were far-fetched, as the Mena showed resilience throughout the game to secure their third consecutive clean sheet and a 2-0 win.
The result means Niger have reached the semi-final for the first time in their fourth participation. Their previous best record was a quarter-final appearance in 2011.
They will face hosts Algeria in the semi-final of the CHAN 2022 on Tuesday in Oran at 1600 GMT.