Stars, Pharaoh share points

Ramadan Sobhi (right) of Egypt tries to break away from Ghana's Harrison Afful

Ramadan Sobhi (right) of Egypt tries to break away from Ghana’s Harrison Afful

Ghana’s Black Stars ended their Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign without a win at home as they were held 1-1 by the Pharaohs of Egypt yesterday at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium.
The Stars drew goalless with Uganda and Congo Brazzaville in Tamale and the Baba Yara Sports Stadium respectively with high hopes of ending the trend yesterday but both sides deployed solid defenses to earn points.
Egypt’s Mahmoud Fedlallah put his side ahead few minutes after the hour mark to silence the charged crowd but Edwin Gyasi restored parity two minutes after.
The Pharaohs, having sealed qualification ahead of the clash, fielded 14 locally based players with Kwesi Appiah also fielding virtually a side without his ‘big’ boys.
But that had no bearing on the game as both side competed at high level with, perhaps, the only negative being the inability to produce a winner.
Even with that, the Egyptians can be credited for the resolution in defense, denying the Ghanaian the opportunity to snatch all three points as they worked tirelessly at the closing embers of the game to earn a point.
In this regard, goalkeeper Sheriff Ahmed proved the hero for the visitors as he constantly made vital saves including a last minute header that left the Ghanaian fans with their hands on their heads ready for the screamer.
It was the brightest afternoon for goalkeeper Richard Ofori in post for the Black Stars who also delivered a number of breath-taking displays but his opposing number stood tall with the final save that denied Richmond Boakye-Yiadom almost on the stroke of half time.
Ghana assumed greater control in the initial exchanges where the new set of players attempted to cement their place in the team by engaging in a calm and composed soccer but the Egyptians were equally up to the task.
Massing up in midfield and the defensive area, they made it difficult for the host to penetrate, forcing Kwesi Appiah’s men to use his full backs to attack but lacked the cutting-edge crosses to open them.
Fedlallah fetched his first goal for Egypt in the 60th minute to present a daunting order for the Ghanaians, a challenge they accepted and equalised three minutes after.
Edwin Gyasi dribbled two players and fired a shot at the edge of the Egyptian goal area which deflected off the feet of Ali Gabi to leave the Egyptian goalie stranded as the ball rolled into the post.
It was a welcome equaliser which the Stars built on but failed to break the Egyptian defense.

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