Ghana have eased to victory in Group B at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after a comprehensive 3-0 win over Niger in their final pool match in Port Elizabeth on Monday.
The Black Stars head the pool with seven points and will now meet surprise quarter-finalists Cape Verde in the knockout stages at the same venue on Saturday.
The result was never really in doubt, with the Ghanaians taking an early lead through under-fire Asamoah Gyan. Christian Atsu added a second, before John Boye made the points safe just after halftime.
Albert Adomah’s burst down the right saw him cross for Gyan, whose first touch was sublime as he set himself up for the shot. He blasted the ball past the helpless Kassaly Daouda in the Niger goal.
The Nigeriens thought they had equalised minutes later, but striker Moussa Maazou was penalized for jumping into Ghana goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda. It was a harsh call as both went up for the ball.
Gyan turned provider for Ghana's second, racing down the left and providing the cross for Atsu. He muscled a defender off the ball and neatly finished in the far corner to calm the nerves of coach Kwesi Appiah.
And the veteran forward had a hand in the third too. His powerful header was only parried by Daouda and Boye pounced on the rebound to make it 3-0. Not for the first time in this tournament Daouda was left embarrassed.
Gyan should have added to his night’s good work when he volleyed wide with the goal at his mercy, but in the end it didn’t matter and the Black Stars were able comfortably to play out the remainder of the match.
Niger are therefore still looking for a first Africa Cup of Nations win, as well as a first victory outside their country since 1992. Neither looked a possibility today.