Super Eagles and Black Stars in their Marrakech clash on Friday. 

In his first bow as helmsman of the Super Eagles, goals by Cyriel Dessers and Ademola Lookman put smiles on the face of Finidi George as Nigeria bumped Ghana 2-1 in a friendly match full of steel and streaks of flavour in the Moroccan city of Marrakech on Friday.

As was the case at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Cote d’Ivoire earlier in the year, goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali proved key to the Super Eagles’ performance, showing plenty of poise, confidence and comfort on the ball and pulling off a string of saves to ensure Nigeria’s first win over Ghana at senior level in 18 years.

The result was an exact reverse of the scoreline when George, as a player, first featured for Nigeria against Ghana in an Africa Cup of Nations semi-final clash in Senegal 32 years ago.

Returning forward Cyriel Dessers sent Lawrence Ati-Zigi the wrong way from the penalty spot in the 38th minute, after Jerome Opoku handled a shot by Kelechi Iheanacho. The Leicester City of England man had earlier struck the woodwork as Nigeria pressed.

Opoku would pick up a red card in the 57th minute for dissent, leaving the Black Stars with 10 men.

The Black Stars came close to restoring parity two minutes after Nigeria went in front, with Antoine Semenyo all by himself at the other end, but Nwabali proved the rock.

Both teams showed good composure and firm control on the lush turf of the Grand Stade de Marrakech, and Nigeria stretched her lead with six minutes left when substitute Ademola Lookman calmly slotted past goalkeeper Ati-Zigi and an onrushing defender after a good team move that involved fellow substitute Moses Simon and Alex Iwobi.

In four minutes of added time, Bright Osayi-Samuel brought down forward Semenyo well into the Nigeria box, and captain Jordan Ayew made no mistake from the spot.

The Super Eagles will play a second friendly against the Les Aigles of Mali at the same venue on Tuesday night.    

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