Stars struggled due to bad nature of pitch – Andre Ayew

Netherlands v Ghana - International Friendly

Netherlands v Ghana – International Friendly

Deputy Black Stars captain Andre Ayew has revealed that the team struggled in the second half of the game against Ethiopia because of the poor state of the pitch.

 

Ghana beat the Walias of Ethiopia 2-0 on Sunday to enhance their qualification chances for AFCON 2019.

But, after a good first half display that saw Jordan Ayew score twice in 30 minutes, the team had to stay back and soak waves of pressure from the East Africans.

Ayew, who led the side in place of Asamoah Gyan said the nature of the pitch did not help their style of play.

“The pitch was difficult to play on, we knew that at the start of the game that due to our coach’s tactics, we needed to score a goal in the first 30 minutes and we did our best to do that and we got the second after a counter attack,” he said after the game.

“I think it affected our play, Ghana is a team that likes to posses and play football but the pitch was bad so we had to show maturity and experience.”

“When you get to this level, what is important is, we needed the three points to qualify for AFCON and that is what we did.”

Ghana leapfrogs Ethiopia to second place with six points after three games, just a point behind Kenya who they will play in Kumasi in the final qualifier.

Meanwhile, Head coach of the Black Stars Kwesi Appiah has commended the players for their performance.

 

“The players did well considering the nature of the pitch and secondly the altitude, it wasn’t easy. Even though I was standing out there, I was sometimes finding it difficult to breathe,” Coach Appiah told reporters after the game.

“Tactically after we went ahead two goals the intention was to make sure they will be able to contain the weather and for that reason the opposing team had opportunity to maintain the ball more.”

“At the end of the day, if they possess more you don’t have a problem but once they enter your box that’s where the problem will be created but on the whole looking at the altitude it was very difficult in the second for our players,” he deduced.

With CAF yet to make a final decision in regards to Sierra Leone (who have been banned by FIFA and therefore barred from playing the last three rounds of qualifiers) and their status in Group F, the Black Stars’ place at the 2019 finals is not fully confirmed.

But if and when CAF award 3-0 wins to Sierra Leone’s opponents for the three missing games (two of which were against Ghana), Kwesi Appiah’s side will be mathematically be guaranteed a place in the top two of the group, and therefore safely into Cameroon 2019. -Ghanasoccernet

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