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Ghana falls to Nigeria 2-1 in Otto Addo's coaching return

Ghana faced a disappointing 2-1 defeat against arch-rivals Nigeria in an international friendly at the Stade de Marrakech on Friday, marking Otto Addo's first game in charge since returning as coach.

Otto Addo, returning for his second stint with the Black Stars, took over from Chris Hughton, who was relieved of his duties following Ghana's underwhelming performance at the Africa Cup 2023 in Ivory Coast, where they exited at the group stage.

The Dortmund talent coach was hoping to guide the Black Stars to a win in his second stint following a disastrous campaign at the 2023 AFCON in Cote d'Ivoire.

However, Nigeria dominated proceedings from the onset, applying relentless pressure to the Black Stars.

Ghana's goalkeeper, Lawrence Ati-Zigi, displayed his prowess with an outstanding save, denying Nigeria's attempts to take the lead.

Nigeria eventually broke the deadlock with Cyriel Dessers converting a penalty, awarded for a handball in Ghana's box, securing a deserved lead at halftime. Despite Ghana's efforts to equalize, Antoine Semenyo missed a clear chance just before the break.

In the second half, Coach Otto Addo adjusted tactics, leading to a more promising display from the Black Stars, who gained better control and created scoring opportunities.

However, their momentum was hampered by Jerome Opoku's contentious red card for an alleged elbow, a decision vehemently contested by Addo and Opoku.

Despite being reduced to 10 men, Ghana maintained possession, but Nigeria capitalized on a counterattack, sealing the victory with Ademola Lookman's clinical finish.

Ghana salvaged some pride with a late penalty converted by captain Jordan Ayew, marking his third consecutive goal from spot-kicks.

Ghana aims to draw lessons from the match as they prepare for their upcoming friendly against Uganda on Tuesday. At the final whistle, Nigeria celebrated their first win over Ghana in 18 years.

Otto Addo is set to take over the Ghana job on a full-time basis in the summer.

He signed a three-year contract with the option to further for two years.

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