Ghana 0-0 Niger (Pen: 6-5): Starlets through to U17 Afcon finalGhana were made to work for their money as it took a 6-5 penalty shootout win to beat Niger to the final of the ongoing Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations in Gabon on Wednesday.
The semi-final clash at the Stade de Port-Gentil ended 0-0 after regulation time.
Following an unsettled first quarter of an hour, Gabriel Leveh had the chance to put Ghana ahead in the 17th minute but the attacker failed to beat goalkeeper Khaled Lawali Ibrahim on a one-vs-one situation, his shot going just wide.
Leveh then turned provider with a cross four minutes later but Edmund Arko-Mensah mistimed his header, leaving the Menas off the hook again.
Not even tournament top scorer Eric Ayiah could break the deadlock in the first half when he had the chance, his shot rolling wide off target after being put through on goal.
Niger's only chance of the half came on 33 minutes. Ghana goalkeeper Danlad Ibrahim was unable to hold on to a cross, but Yacouba Aboubacar, who was lucky to see the ball drop to his feet, scuffed his shot from seven yards.
Back from recess, Ayiah tested Lawali Ibrahim once again following a counter attack, Mohammed Iddriss' shot from outside the box missed target just narrowly, before Ayiah was denied again from close range after he was picked out by an Emmanuel Toku cross.
Toku then made an unsuccessful personal attempt to break the deadlock, but that was only after Abdul Razak Yusif's header rattled the crossbar.
Four minutes to full-time, Niger came close to a surprise opener. Habibou Sofiane's free-kick came off the wall before seeing his shot from the rebound strike the post, with goalkeeper Ibrahim well-beaten.
But like they say, nearly doesn't kill a bird, and the match would be plunged into a straight penalty shootout after a barren draw in normal time.
Captain Ayiah missed his kick but Bismarck Terry Owusu, Toku, Faisal Osman, Mohammed Iddriss, Ibrahim Sulley and Gideon Acquah scored to send Ghana to the final for the first time since Gambia 2005.