World Cup Play-off: VAR rules out second half penalty as Ghana, Nigeria share spoils


The first leg of the 2022 World Cup playoff clash between Ghana and Nigeria ended in a goalless draw at the Baba Yara Stadium on Friday.

Ghana were saved by Video Assistant Referee (VAR) after the system disallowed a penalty awarded to Nigeria in the second half.

Baba Iddrisu was penalised by Moroccan referee Redouane Jiyed for handling the ball in the box but VAR ruled that the Mallorca midfielder was fouled prior.

In a game of few chances, Ghana had the first shot on target with Fatawu Issahaku hitting a powerful shot outside the box after being superbly assisted by debutant Felix Afena-Gyan. However, Nigeria goalkeeper Uzoho was very alert to make a save.

Nigeria’s much talked about wingers Simon Moses and Samuel Chukwueze were kept quiet in the first half by Denis Odoi and Gideon Mensah respectively.

However, Moses had the best chance in the second half. Iheanacho found him in a good position but the Nantes man’s low shot was blocked by Jojo Wollacott.

Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus was very active and drew a good save from Uzoho on 71 minutes.

Nigeria thought they were going to score less than 15 minutes to end the game when the referee pointed to the spot.

Napoli star Victor Osimhen took the ball and was ready to strike before VAR decided otherwise.

It was the first time in Ghana that VAR was used in a match.

Jordan Ayew was booed by fans when he was substituted in added time.

Nigeria fans, about 2000, were the loudest after the game with some claiming they will eliminate Ghana in Abuja.

The return leg will be played on Tuesday, March 29 at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium.