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September 8, 2009

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Ghana qualifies for World Cup

GHANA qualified for next year's World Cup after beating Sudan 2-0 in Accra on Sunday to take an unassailable lead in its group.

It is the first of five countries to qualify from the African preliminaries and achieved it with two matches still to play.

Sulley Muntari, who Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho said may be suffering with his energy levels because he is fasting for Ramadan, put Ghana ahead in the 14th minute.

Chelsea's Michael Essien added a second 10 minutes into the second half, scoring from 20 yards out after picking up a loose ball.

Ghana's win, combined with a 1-1 draw for closest rival Mali in Benin, ensured the Black Stars went seven points clear at the head of Group D.

Mali, which had led from the 72nd minute when its new striker Mamadou Samassa netted on his debut, conceded a goal three minutes from time in Cotonou. Samassa recently switched his footballing nationality from France.

Another former French junior international Nabil Taider scored for Tunisia as it drew 2-2 in Nigeria to maintain a two-point lead in Group B.

Oussama Darragi scored an equalizer from a tight angle in stoppage time of a storming match in Abuja, dealing a large blow to Nigeria's qualification aspirations.

Nigeria had taken the lead in the 27th minute after a superb finish from Peter Odemwingie but Taider's reply came within two minutes.

Nigeria then survived some anxious moments before restoring its lead when a cross from Taye Taiwo set up a tap-in from close range for substitute Michael Eneramo in the 81st minute.

Darragi's equalizer set off a storm of protest from home fans who pelted both teams with objects after the goal and at the final whistle.


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