Ghana finished on the top of Group B with a 3-0 victory over Niger at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The Black Stars will face debutants Cape Verde in the last eight after captain Asamoah Gyan, Christian Atsu and defender John Boye scored to give them a convincing victory.
Niger started the game the more aggressive, causing the Ghanaian defence a number of uncomfortable moments early on.
But it was the Black Stars who hit them on the counter in the sixth minute as Albert Adomah’s cut back from the right found Gyan who controlled well before smashing home his first goal of the tournament.
Niger kept going forward and, after poor control from Moussa Maazou and some last ditch defending from John Boye, they thought they had the equaliser, but Sidibe Modibo’s strike was disallowed for a foul by Maazou on goalkeeper Fatau Dauda.
All the concentration going forward was, however, leaving Niger vulnerable at the back and a carbon copy of the counter attack that led to the opening goal saw Gyan scuff his shot this time round.
Niger, however, did not heed the warning and were hit on the counter attack again.
Atsu played a delightful one-two with the Al Ain striker whose return pass was perfectly placed to allow the Porto man to control on his chest before slotting the ball into the bottom corner for his first goal of the tournament.
Just as Ghana seemed to be finally settling on the ball, however, Niger almost pulled a goal back on the counter attack as Modibo almost got a foot on Maazou’s cross across the face of goal.
That chance put Niger back on the front foot but the Ghanaians were soon hitting on the counter again as Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu forced a save out of the goalkeeper with a shot from 20-yard out.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first as a good start for Niger was almost erased with another good counter attacking move but this time Atsu spent so much time trying to decide whether to shoot or cross and ended up doing neither with a weak effort.
The Ghanaians, however, did not have to wait long for their third goal as Daouda could only parry Gyan’s header from a free kick into the feet of defender Boye who bundled it home.
The third goal, however, seemed to put an end to the countless counter attacks as both teams seemed to have finally started to make more use of possession.
The win means Ghana finish top of their group with seven points and will meet Cape Verde in the quarter-finals.
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