The Super Eagles of Nigeria beat neighbours Benin Republic 1-0 in the semifinals of the ongoing WAFU Cup to set up a mouth-watering final rematch against hosts Ghana on Sunday.
A solitary first half strike from Rabiu Ali handed Nigeria a 1-0 win over a ten-man Benin at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium on Thursday evening.
Nigeria took the lead in the10th minute after beautiful counter-attacking football which saw Anthony Okpotu play Rabiu Ali through on goal and he showed all the composure of a veteran to coolly slot past the goalkeeper.
Nigeria almost doubled their lead on the half hour mark when a right-wing cross from Moses Okoro was met by John Friday, however his volley was superbly saved by the Benin shot stopper.
Things went from bad to worse for Benin when they were reduced to ten men in the 35th minute, following a second yellow card for Marcellin Koukpo.
The Super Eagles controlled the remainder of the half, but failed to add to the score line before the break.
Seven minutes into the second half, Benin nearly found an equaliser when Jules Elegbede met a right-wing cross, but he blazed over from close range.
In the 57th minute, Nigeria almost scored their second goal when John Friday met a corner-kick with a strong header, but his ten-yard effort shaved the wrong side of the crossbar.
Peter Moses should have put the game beyond doubt in the 73rd minute when he found himself in space only six-yards out from goal, but he was superbly thwarted by the Benin goalkeeper.
Eight minutes later, the Benin goalie came to his country’s rescue again, this time denying Afeez Aremu a headed goal with a diving save from eight-yards out.
The Super Eagles continued to push forward in the dying minutes of the game, but their finishing in front of goal was poor as the game ended 1-0.
In the second semifinal, hosts Ghana beat Niger 2-0 to set up a final showdown with the Salisu Yusuf-tutored boys.
Both teams met last Monday in the last group game, with Nigeria holding the bragging rights with a 2-0 win against their perennial rivals.