Mumbai, Oct 18 (IANS) Ghana won the battle of African rivals, edging 2-0 past Niger in their FIFA U-17 WOrld Cup Round of 16 clash at the DY Patil Stadium here on Wednesday.
Ghana captain Eric Ayiah (45+4 minute) put his team ahead when he converted a penalty just before half-time. Richard Danso (90th) doubled the lead right at the end.
Ghana will now meet African U-17 champions Mali in the quarter-finals.
In a tough, physical game, the Ghana wingers constantly troubled the Niger defence with their speed and accurate passes and crosses while Ayiah was a threat down the middle.
Ghana dominated right from the start and although the tall and sturdy Niger defenders parried their attacks repeatedly, the pressure finally told in first half added time when Ayiah was fouled inside the penalty box by Farouk Idrissa.
Ayiah stepped forward to take the resultant penalty and give Ghana a well deserved lead.
Ghana continued to dominate in the second half with Niger defending desperately and looking to hit back on the counter.
Goalkeeper Khaled Lawali was easily the best player on the day for Niger as he pulled off several superb saves.
Lawali was called into service again in the 85th minute when Farouk brought down Emmanuel Toku inside the Niger penalty area to concede his second penalty of the match.
Ayiah stepped forward once again to take the spot kick but Lawali dived the correct way this time to deny the Ghana captain.
Ghana managed a second goal however, when Danso, who had come on as a substitute, scored with a powerful shot from outside the box.