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Last Updated: Monday, 23 January 2006, 17:23 GMT
Nigeria 1-0 Ghana
Farayi Mungazi
BBC Sport, Port Said

Taye Taiwo
Taiwo runs with joy after netting the winner

The latest chapter in Nigeria's rivalry with Ghana produced a 1-0 victory for the Super Eagles in Group D of the 2006 African Nations Cup finals.

A fiercely struck shot from Marseille left back Taye Taiwo five minutes from time settled a keenly contested affair at a packed El Masry stadium in Port Said.

The game was heading for a draw when the Super Eagles won a free-kick 30 yards out.

Yussuf Ayila rolled the ball to Taiwo whose long-range shot flew past Ghana goalkeeper Sammy Adjei.

This match was hyped up to the heavens but the opening exchanges almost put the crowd to sleep as the two teams took a safety-first approach.

The game came to life in the 24th-minute when Taiwo's well-taken free-kick outside the area produced an excellent save from Adjei.

Ghana's response was almost instantaneous as Matthew Amoah took advantage of some sloppy marking to threaten the Nigerian goal with a long-range effort that sailed just wide.

The best chance of the first half fell to Julius Aghahowa after 39 minutes.

Aghahowa was given the freedom of the Ghanaian penalty area but his shot hit the side netting.

Two minutes before the interval, Wilson Oruma negotiated his way past two defenders before drawing another fine save from Adjei.

Nigeria began the second period with menacing intent.

Obafemi Martins, Osaze Odemwingie and the impressive Oruma took turns to endanger Adjei's goal, as Ghana struggled to get out of their own half.

Laryea Kingston could have given the Black Stars the lead after 58 minutes but for a terrific one-handed reflex save by Vincent Enyeama.

Matthew Amoah then cleverly lost his marker but missed the target with a free header from six metres

Ghana have become the third of Africa's World Cup qualifiers to lose their opening match at the Nations Cup following Angola and Togo's defeats to Cameroon and the DR Congo respectively.


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