- There have been no new injury concerns for the Black Stars ahead of the second leg.
- Felix Afena-Gyan, who picked up an injury in the first leg was able to join the team’s recovery session and travelled with the squad to Abuja.
- Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, who was a doubt for the last game but came on as a late substitute is in line for a start tonight.
- Edmund Addo will miss tonight’s game after scans confirmed a thigh injury before the first leg.
Is this match the biggest match between the two teams in history? Probably not.
But just like the first leg in Kumasi, it’s right up there.
The rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria transcends football but it is probably at its fiercest when the two nations face off on the pitch.
Add to that, the fact that this is a Ghana vs Nigeria match, post the Jollof Wars and Twitter banter era, and also the fact that there is a World Cup place at stake, and this game takes a whole new level of importance.
Otto Addo’s appointment as Black Stars head coach for just the two matches against Nigeria was initially seen as a stop-gap measure to keep the team ticking until a new substantive boss is found.
However, the Black Stars’ dominance in the first leg on Tuesday against the star-studded Nigerian team, raised more than a few eyebrows to the fact that Addo might just deliver.
A very impressive first half was followed by a creditable second, an improvement from the usual heart-wrenching 45s Ghanaians had become used to in recent Black Stars matches.
One thing that will worry Ghanaians and Addo himself is the fact that the team failed to take their chances despite creating a fair few.
More encouraging was the fact that the Nigerians didn’t score either, heaping massive pressure on the Super Eagles not to concede tonight.
Goals have not been easy for the two teams to come by in competitive games against each other in recent years.
The Black Stars have failed to score in their last four World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria, while the Super Eagles have failed to score in four of their last five against Ghana.
The good news for the Black Stars don’t need to win tonight to make it through to Qatar, a draw will be enough as long as they find the net.
Even a goalless draw might be enough although a more perilous path of extra-time and maybe penalties will be required.
The impressive Kumasi crowd, that cheered on the Stars throughout the game on Friday will certainly be a big miss though.
A big decision that will certainly be on the minds of the members of the technical team is whether Jordan Ayew starts.
Despite being the player with the most goals and appearances for the national team in the current squad, the Crystal Palace forward has failed to find the net in an entire calendar year for the Black Stars.
He was also booed by fans at the Baba Yara Stadium when he came off in stoppage time.
The head coach has however, been vociferous in his backing of Jordan ahead of the game, with all indications pointing to another start for the striker in Abuja.
Nigeria have made qualifying for the World Cup a habit and are hoping to make it through their fourth-straight tournament.
Despite an underwhelming performance in the first leg, Nigeria came through the game unscathed.
However, there’s enormous pressure on them tonight as, aside from playing in front of a typically expectant and impatient home crowd, they’ll have to contend with the threat of the away goals rule.
Otto Addo has been quite combative in his recent press conferences, he’ll require a similar attitude from his team tonight if they’ll a chance of making it through to the tournament in Qatar.
WHAT THEY SAID
Black Stars head coach, Otto Addo
“We did well even though we made some mistakes but we started well, there was just a little bit of fatigue and it made Nigeria come into the game more. We watch a lot of matches, me and my squad… and I think we know what each of them is capable of.”
Nigeria head coach, Augustine Eguavoen
“The performance they [Ghana] put on [Friday] was expected, [but] I would like to congratulate my boys, they were able to soak up the pressure and took control of the game in the second half. Ghana were on top of their game, but they didn’t have any clear-cut chances. But we had two clear-cut chances. We should have won, but I think we are okay with a draw.”
- Having qualified for three-straight World Cups between 2006 and 2014, Ghana will be looking to reach the tournament for a fourth time after missing out on the 2018 tournament in Russia.
- Ghana are winless in their last 5 games across all competitions (D2 L3) since a 1-0 victory against South Africa in the World Cup qualifiers.
- Ghana have lost just one of their last 11 World Cup qualifiers (W5 D5), conceding just six goals in total during this period and never more than one in a game
- In the first leg, no player made more passes (57), won back possession more often (9), or made more tackles (3) than Iddrisu Baba
- Nigeria will be playing in Abuja for the first time since a 2-2 draw with Guinea in October 2011
- The Super Eagles are looking to qualify for a 4th-straight World Cup, having participated in 2010, 2014 and 2018
- Nigeria have lost just one of their last 43 World Cup qualifiers (W28 D14), with the loss coming against CAR.
- Napoli striker Victor Osimhen has scored 10 goals in his last 14 appearances for Nigeria in all competitions although he failed to find the net in the first leg.
Head to head
- Ghana and Nigeria have met in 57 matches across all competitions dating back as far as 1950.
- The Black Stars have 25 wins compared to 12 for the Super Eagles, while 20 games have been drawn.
- Nigeria have a record of eight wins, nine draws and three defeats from 20 home matches against Ghana.
- Ghana have failed to score in each of their last four World Cup qualifiers against Nigeria, while Nigeria have failed to score in four of their last five against Ghana.
- Nigeria remain winless in their last six meetings with Ghana across all competitions (D3 L3) since a 1-0 victory in the Africa Cup of Nations back in 2006 – although each of the last three meetings have ended goalless
- Four of the seven African World Cup qualifiers between Nigeria and Ghana have ended level (2 wins for Nigeria and 1 win for Ghana), with three of the last four ending goalless.
Kick-Off: 17:00 GMT (5pm Ghana) (19:00 CAT)
Venue: Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja
Coverage: Analysis and live commentary on Citi FM from 16:00 GMT (4pm Ghana)