Stars rout Ethiopia …In AFCON 2019 opening qualifier

Black Stars' Thomas Adjepong and Raphael Dwamena join skipper Asamoah Gyan to celebrate the team's opening goal   Photo Godwin Ofosu Acheampong

Black Stars’ Thomas Adjepong and Raphael Dwamena join skipper Asamoah Gyan to celebrate the team’s opening goal Photo Godwin Ofosu Acheampong

The senior national football team, the Black Stars, commenced their journey to the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon in a sparkling form yesterday when they spanked the Walia Antelopes of Ethiopia 5-0 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.

The match was preceded by heavy rains but the fans defied it, describing it as showers of blessing amid chants as they poured in their numbers to cheer the Black Stars to victory.

Indeed, the fans had their money’s worth as the Stars put up a spirited performance to carry the day in a grand style.

In fact, it was a perfect start for head Coach, Kwasi Appiah, who was having being tasked to qualify and win the next AFCON following his reappointment.

And, the team, very compact, succeeded in pinning their opponents in their half of the pitch throughout the game with little or no chance for the Antelopes.

With a perfect combination between Munich 1860`s Lumor Agbenyenu and Thomas Agyepong of NAC Breda in Holland, it was just a matter of time for the goals to pour in.

Lumor Agbenyenu picked a loose ball, raced deep into the box and sent a pass to Captain Asamoah Gyan whose header took a deflection off an Ethiopian player into the net, to light up the stadium when the game was 10 barely minutes old.

Just four minutes later, the Stars registered the double when rearguard, John Boye, without hesitation, powered home a Dede Ayew lob few meters outside the box.

And ff the cheers that greeted the goal was deafening, then what followed Stuttgart`s Ebenezer Ofori`s power laden drive from about 40-meters to produce the third goal electrified the entire stadium in the 42nd minute.

He picked his marker, raced into the visitors’ area before cutting inside to unleash a fierce pile-driver which the Ethiopian goalie had no answer to.

It appeared Ghana was not satisfied with the three goals, and on resumption pushed hard and yielded results with debutant, Raphael Dwamena of FC Zurich scoring a brace in the 47th and 59th minutes mark, respectively.

The Wallia Antelopes of Ethiopia were not perturbed. They accepted the challenge with their speedster Omod Omod Okwury combining effectively with Yiech Gathouch Panom and Gebru Adis Giday to pump heat into their game but all the onslaughts were thwarted by the Ghanaian defense.

The Ethiopians could have gotten a consolation goal when Omod Omod Okwury fired a long range from 30 yards which the Ghanaian goalkeeper, Richard Ofori parried over the bar with the resultant corner kick going waste.

Coach Kwasi Appiah brought on Majeed Warris and Jordan Ayew for skipper Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew respectively whilethe Ethiopians substituted their keeper, Gebreyonase Abel Mamo for Bushura Jemal Tasew after the former clashed with Andre Ayew.

From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi

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