ACCRA - Ghanaians took to the streets last night to celebrate the Black Stars reaching the semifinals after a hard-fought 2-1 win over perennial rivals Nigeria, whose German coach Berti Vogts is expected to be fired as their Africa Cup of Nations' campaign is over.
The atmosphere in the capital, Accra, was electrifying as early as 11am with thousands Ghanaians - many of whom dressed in the popular red, green and yellow national colours, - marched through the main streets where they sang, ululated, blew horns and whistles.
Despite an announcement on Saturday that tickets were sold out, there were some several empty seats in this tension-filled game where South Africans, Enock Molefe and Jerome Damon, served as assistant referee and fourth official, respectively.
Inspired by their ever singing supporters, the Black Stars had the upper hand in the opening stages of the game, launching a series of attacks in an attempt to get an early goal to destabilise the Super Eagles, whom they defeated 4-1 in London in November.
However, it was the Nigerians who were the first to draw blood from the penalty spot after Algerian referee Mohamed Benouza adjudged defender John Pantsil to have rough tackled Ayegbeni Yakubu in the 33rd minute in an attempt to clear the ball.
Yakubu easily converted, beating goalkeeper Dauda Fadawu but the goal did not silence many Ghanaians in the stadium.
Influential Ghanaian midfielder Michel Essien finally answered their prayers when he equalised with a superb header after connecting a cross in the 44th minute from Owusu-Abeyie Quincy, sending the Ohene Djan Stadium into raptures.
The Black Stars were reduced to 10 men in the 59th minute after captain and defender John Mensah was rightly sent for an early shower for a tackle from behind on the troublesome Peter Odemwingie. The unmarked Odemwingie, who was in a better position to score at that time, was left with only Fadawu to beat.
The hosts took the lead in the 82nd minute when Manuel "Junior" Agogo tapped home a pass from Sulley Muntari after a move by Richard Kingston.