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Black Stars dazzle to reach last eight

Ghana qualified in style for the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations with a convincing 3-0 win over Niger 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.

‘We stepped up our game and won against a good Niger team,’ said Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah, a squad member when the Black Stars last won the Cup of Nations 31 years ago in Libya, adding, ‘We hope to do better as we progress in this competition.’
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