The national U-23 team, the Black Meteors has one foot in the last round of the 2019 Africa U-23 Cup of Nations following a 4-0 thrashing of Gabon on Saturday at the Accra Sports Stadium.
A brace from Osman Bukari and a goal each from Kwabena Owusu and Bernard Tekpertey ensured that the Meteors go into the second leg of the qualifier in Gabon with a huge advantage.
Possibly, it’s a mere formality in Gabon on Tuesday as Ibrahim Tanko’s side are highly motivated to book a place in the African championship slated for Egypt later this year.
The Meteors went all attacking from the blast of the referee’s whistle which resulted in a 14th minute lead courtesy a superb strike from Owusu which found the top right corner of the net.
The lead was almost doubled immediately but a glorious chance was wasted by Joseph Paintsil when he had only the goalkeeper to beat but fired wide.
The Panthers from Gabon also had few chances of their own with Mboulou Nzigou threatening the goal area of the Meteors.
A more threatening move from Gabon in the first half was in the 40th minute when Babicka Shavy’s shot hit the post.
The game settled on 1-0 for the Meteors after recess, leaving fans at the edge of their seats in anticipation of an exciting second half as Gabon looked promising and determined to cause an upset.
But that was not the case as the Meteors doubled the lead in the 47th minute when substitute Bernard Tekpertey made an immediate impact, scoring from his first touch.
The Meteors once again took over the game with the likes of Paintsil and skipper Yaw Yeboah mesmerizing fans with their dazzling dribbling skills in midfield.
Tired of the “sweet” football, fans chanted for more goals. Osman Bukari responded as he pressured the Gabonese defense causing them to make a mistake which allowed him lift the ball above the goalie, to make it 3-0.
Bukari secured a brace in the 83rd minute with another brilliant strike to put the game to bed.
The Meteors would be expected to repeat their brilliant performance on Tuesday away in Gabon to cement their place in the African championship.
The final U-23 AFCON tournament, scheduled for Egypt in November, would also serve as qualifiers for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
BY MICHAEL D.ABAYATEYE