(Watch Highlights) Super Eagles beat Black Stars

Nigeria bounced back from last month’s painful Africa Cup of Nations final defeat by edging out 10-man Ghana in a high-profile friendly contest on Friday.

Playing their first match since throwing away a first-half lead to lose 2-1 against hosts Ivory Coast in the AFCON showpiece back in February, the Super Eagles defeated their West African rivals 2-1 in Marrakesh to boost interim boss and Nigeria legend Finidi George’s hopes of getting the vacant manager’s job on a full-time basis.

Rangers forward Cyriel Dessers gave dominant Nigeria – missing the likes of attacking talisman Victor Osimhen due to injury – a deserved advantage from the penalty spot after Ghana were penalised for handball, with Jerome Opoku later sent off in confusing circumstances to give the Black Stars a mountain to climb in their first game following another dismal AFCON campaign that led to Chris Hughton being sacked after a second successive group stage exit.

However, there were still plenty of positives to be taken by returning Ghana coach Otto Addo, who despite their numerical disadvantage saw his depleted and experimental side – without West Ham’s Mohammed Kudus and Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey, among others – battle bravely and push hard for an equaliser.

Bournemouth’s Antoine Semenyo spurned a number of chances including a missed close-range header before substitute Ademola Lookman rifled in a late second for Nigeria to continue his fine run of form at international level.

Spirited Ghana did get a goal that their efforts deserved late into second-half stoppage time, when Crystal Palace stalwart Jordan Ayew sent Stanley Nwabali the wrong way from 12 yards after a clumsy foul by Bright Osayi-Samuel on Semenyo.

However, it proved to be only a mere consolation as Nwabali held a last-gasp effort from range from Semenyo to secure a morale-boosting win for Nigeria in the latest edition of the so-called ‘Jollof Derby’, with Mali up next in another Marrakesh friendly on Tuesday evening as preparations continue for the return of World Cup qualifying in the summer.

Photo Credit: NGSuperEagles/ X

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