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Niger 0-3 Ghana

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Gyan: Finally on the scoreboard

Gyan: Finally on the scoreboard

Ghana marched on to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals to face Cape Verde after defeating goalless Niger 3-0 in Durban on Monday night.

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The Black Stars booked their last-eight spot berth courtesy of first-half goals from Asamoah Gyan and Christian Atsu, along with John Boye's second-half contribution.

Kwesi Appiah's men now progress to the knockout stages undefeated and top of Group B, with the Blue Sharks awaiting the West African giants back at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

Ghana showed their attacking intent early on with Christian Atsu and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu combining well going forward.

Kwadwo Asamoah's attacking run in the fourth minute earned the Black Stars their first free-kick of the match when he was Itaken out by Issiaka Koudize, only for set-piece to fail to register a real chance on goal.

But moments later, Gyan silenced his critics with his first goal of the competition with a clinical finish at the near post.

Mena looked to hit back swiftly as the ball was played forward for Ouwo Moussa Maazou, only his touch forward was too heavy and the ball bounced into touch.

The Nigeriens continued to press and in the tenth minute earned themselves a corner-kick out on the right. Drama ensued as Maazou managed to bumble the ball into the back net from the set-piece, only for the referee to disallow it due to pushing in the box from the attacking side.

Ghana made their let-off count when they doubled their lead in the 23rd minute, Atsu capping off his first AFCON start with his well-taken goal.

The Porto star beat Kassaly Daouda at his near post with a neat side-footed finish having chested down Gyan's cross from the left.

Ghana pushed on for their third before the break, leaving Niger to feed off scraps and rely solely on counter-attacking opportunities.

However, when the Mena did manage to launch any forays into the Ghanaian half of the pitch, Isaac Vorsah stood in their way with the no-nonsense centre-back having delivered another solid performance at the back.

The Black Stars went into the interval comfortably in the lead, and picked up after the break where they left as Atsu's run almost culminated in a goal, the attacker pulling his shot wide.

But Ghanaian faithful didn't have long to wait for their side's next breakthrough, Boye bumbling the ball over the goal-line on the 49 minute mark after Gyan's header down, and Dauoda's spill, from a right-sided free-kick.

From then on out it was smooth-sailing for the Black Stars, who absorbed anything the Mena threw at them, before launching several counter-attacking forays of their own.

Appiah would've been especially impressed with the enterprising outing of Atsu, the youngster having kicked from his cameo showing against Mali by easily slotting in up front in place of the suspended Mubarak Wakaso.

Also, Gyan's much-improved efforts on attack would've pleased his coach, along with having got the goalscoring monkey off his back.

As for Niger, it's an early flight home for the hapless Mena with Gernot Rohr's charges having been unable to open their goalscoring account after three matches played at the African showpiece.

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Posted: 28/01/13 19:08

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