His name is Junior Agogo, which may sound familiar to some MLS die-hards and Nottingham Forest fans but not many others outside of Ghana. Well, the same striker who played for three MLS teams in two seasons before leaving the league managed to score a game-winning goal in the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals.
Agogo saved the hosts, Ghana, when he tapped home a Sulley Muntari pass in the 83rd minute to help give Ghana a 2-1 victory against Nigeria. The win moves the ANC hosts into the semifinals, where Ghana will meet the winner of Monday’s semifinal between Cameroon and Tunisia on Thursday.
In the day’s other ANC quarterfinal, Ivory Coast shredded underdog Guinea, 5-0, with Chelsea tandem Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou combining for three goals. The Ivorians will face the winner of Monday’s semifinal between Egypt and Angola.
Agogo’s MLS career consisted of a one-game stint with the Chicago Fire before being traded to Colorado. His time with the Rapids was more successful, as he scored 15 goals for Colorado during the course of two seasons before being dealt to the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001. He was on the roster for San Jose’s first MLS Cup title but left the league soon after.
The loss ended a disappointing tournament for the Nigerians, which boasted some of the most well-known players in the tournament. It is still a bit mind-boggling that Nigeria could struggle so badly to score goals yet have the luxury of leaving Obafemi Martins and John Utaka on the bench. Neither saw the field today.
Nigeria actually opened the scoring on a Yakubu penalty kick but Ghana’s Super Man, Michael Essien, headed home an equalizer just before halftime. Things looked grim for Ghana when John Mensah was issued a red card in the 60th minute but Nigeria failed to capitalize on the man advantage.