Last Updated: 28/01/13 6:52pm
Ghana raise their hands in triumph as their passionate supporters in the stands know they needed leave Durban with the undefeated Black Stars to face Cape Verde in their quarter-final clash.
The match has almost slowed to a crawl with the Black Stars maintaining possession and keeping it close between their box and the halfway line.
Ghana just slowing play down at the back, passing the ball around confidently knowing their progression to the knockout stages is assured.
Mohamed Soumaila is cautioned for bringing down Asante illegally as the Black Stars looked to breakaway on the counter.
Niger still can't find the consolation goal as Mezzou's headed attempt from a deep free-kick edges into touch.
Issoufou looks to feed Mezzou inside the danger area, but the irrepressible Vorsah stands his ground to intercept the pass.
Chicoto soldiers on after initially crumbling to the turf having been sandwiched between his own player and Agyemang-Badu inside the box.
Agyemang-Badu goes to ground out on the right, but Ghana fail to really capitalise on the well-positioned set-piece.
Gyan likely getting a well-earned rest as Emmanuel Clottey takes to the field for the closing stages of this encounter.
Issoufou tests Dauda from the left with a curling effort to wards the top-left corner, but the Ghana gloveman gets an outstretched paw to parry the ball away.
Afful's delivery from the left for his skipper is too strong and too high, but the Black Stars are looking ever more classy going forward.
Niger's desperation to push forward and score as allowed Ghana to poach the ball in the middle of the park and launch a counter, Gyan in the end letting rip from range that Dauoda smothers.
Issoufou with his first opportunity on goal, coming from he free-kick spot, but Fatau Dauda deals well with effort on target.
Amadou does well to put off Gyan as the Ghanaian hitman goes for goal with a aerobatic volley, the Mena replacement doing just enough to put him off.
Adomah is called off with Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah making his first change, Solomon Asante getting a run-out.
Atsu feeds Gyan beautifully from the middle into the box, but the Black Stars captain's shot on goal lacks any real power.
End-to-end play as the game opens up, Mezzou's ball across the box from the left beating everyone - including his own man - with Gyan at the other end cracking a shot, only to see it blocked.
Mezzou with an excellent chance on goal after getting on the end of a cross from the left, but the Mena skipper's header blazes over the crossbar.
Square ball from the left by Asamoah and Dankowa makes a hash of the in-box clearance, but a Ghanaian player fails to get a boot on the end of it.
Dauoda manages to clear the initial set-piece to the far post for a corner with Gyan lurking, and the Mena shot-stopper does well to gather a loose inside the box subsequently.
Dankowa goes into the book for his challenge on Atsu, and it's another well-placed free-kick for the Ghanaians.
GOAL! Boye bumbles the ball over the goal-line after Gyan's header down, and Dauoda's spill, from the set-piece.
Mohamed Bachar brings down Atsu from behind and Ghana get a decent attacking free-kick form the right.
The Mena's search for the equaliser, and their first goal of the tournament, comes to nought as Mezzou is flagged for offfsides after controlling a ball over the top into the area.
Ghana's defence seemingly untroubled at the back, Vorsah yet again with an easy clearance off a Nigerien surge forward.
Dauoda forced to make fine low stop to his left off Agyemang-Badu after a flowing movement from inside their own half from Ghana.
Gyan rolling around on the pitch after a tackle from Kowa, but the Black Stars talisman is soon back on his feet and pushing forward.
Vorsah does well to track-back and hack a long ball forward for Mezzou into touch, with the Ghanaian centre-back then on hand from the corner to punt the ball clear.
Asamoah's delivery towards the far post is too strong for John Boye, who made a good run down the left flank.
Koffi Dan Kowa is back on his feet after taking a heavy knock in the tackle which required some medical attention.
Ghana pushing for a third from the right, but Niger hold their line and gain possession to launch a counter-attack. The ball is moved swiftly up to Modibo Sidibe, but he can't cleanly strike the ball with Vorsah on him inside the area.
The Black Stars earn themselves another free-kick from the left after Gyanis brought down, but Adomah's delivery into the box is headed clear.
Niger battling to pry open a iron-clad Ghana back-line held together by the impenetrable Isaac Vorsah.
Atsu and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu break on attack with a quick-fire one-two, only for the Nigeriens' cover defence to scramble back in time.
Gyan unable to find his range from his latest free-kick attempt, but the Ghanaians are clearly in the driving seat and afford the off disappointment on goal.
Chicoto picks up a yellow card for a poor challenge as Mena's desperation to pull a goal back translating into sloppy defensive work.
GOAL! Atsu caps off his first start in the tournament with a neat side-footed finish inside the 18-yard area after chesting down Gyan's cross from the left.
Gyan on target with a well-placed free-kick form out in front, but Daouda is as well-positioned and gathers the ball easily.
And just like that, Issiaka Koudize earns himself the first caution of the match for a sloppy tackle on Asamoah.
Match getting a bit scrappy now as both sets of players are having to be pulled aside for their overzealous challenges.
Fatoghoma Kourouma takes a rangy chance on goal form the left, only to see his attempt sail well high and wide.
Mezzou just told to calm down by the referee after the Mena skipper flies in studs-up on Harrison Afful.
Mohammed Chicoto tries the spectacular, a bicycle kick inside the area, but to no avail as the Nigeriens push up in earnest.
Ghana pushing hard on attack now with Albert Adomah and Christian Atsu looking to link-up and make something happen inside the box.
The Black Stars manage to take play up field, and earn themselves another free-kick, but more pushing and shoving in the danger area - this time form Ghana - sees the west African giants' penalised.
Drama as Mena bumble the ball in the net from the set-piece only for the referee to disallow it due to pushing in the box from the attacking side.
Decent delivery from the left by Boubacar Talatou for Maazou almost sees the latter slide the ball in to goal, but not so, yet Niger earn a corner-kick for the troubles.
Mena look to hit back swiftly as the ball is played forward for Ouwo Moussa Maazou, only his touch forward is too heavy and the ball bounces into touch.
GOAL! Asamoah Gyan silences the critics with his first goal of the competition with a clinical finish at the near post.
Kassaly Daouda comes off his line to deal comfortably with a cross into his box from the right, the Mena shot-stopper then forcing play down into the Black Stars' half for the first corner-kick of the match.
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Niger are rated at 13/2 to beat Ghana today according to our friends at Sky Bet, while it is 16/5 for the match to end in a draw. Goalless since the start of the tournament, Asamoah Gyan is 7/2 to open the soring, and 9/2 to bag a brace.
A Mali win or a Congo win would see Menas eliminated regardless of their result, while Ghana would be knocked out if they lose and there is a winner in the other match.
Mena lost their first 2013 AFCON clash to Mali and went on to draw against DR Congo, leaving them bottom of the group with a single point. A Niger win would leave them level on points with the Black Stars, but they would need a draw in the other group encounter to advance.
The Black Stars drew their first group game 2-2 with the DR Congo, before beating Mali 1-0, and are currently topping the group with four points. A win for the Ghanaians would mean they would progress, regardless of results elsewhere, while a draw could be enough provided that Mali and Congo draw in their match.