Daniel Afriyie Barnieh on Sunday scored his third goal of the 2023 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifiers to help Ghana beat Nigeria 2-0 to claim a first-leg advantage in the final round tie.
The Hearts of Oak striker, who scored twice in the previous round against Benin, opened the scoring for Black Galaxies at the Cape Coast Stadium, with club teammate Suraj Seidu adding the crucial second.
Black Galaxies will head into the second leg next week confident of qualifying for their first CHAN tournament since 2014.
The poor state of the pitch made things difficult for both teams, but the Black Galaxies showed more commitment, particularly in the second half, and earned a deserved victory over the Super Eagles, who now need a special performance at home to overturn the deficit and qualify ahead of Ghana.
Despite their superiority, Ghana scored four minutes after the halftime break. Barnieh scored from 12-yards after the Black Galaxies were given a penalty for a foul in the box by a Nigerian.
Suraj scored the second goal in the 86th minute, capping off a well-worked move with a close-range strike.
The victory puts Ghana on track to deny Nigeria another tournament this year after the Black Stars qualified for the 2022 World Cup ahead of the Super Eagles in March.