Galaxies see off Benin …to set up Nigeria clash

The Black Galaxies of Ghana put up another five-star display to ease past the Young Squirrels of Benin 1-0 in the second leg encounter of the 2023 Championship of African Nations (CHAN) qualifiers at the Stade Charles De Gaulles in Porto-Novo, Benin, on Saturday.

Goals from Daniel Afriyie Barnieh, Mohammed Alhassan and skipper Gladson Awako gave Ghana a resounding 3-0 triumph in the first leg game at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium last Sunday, ahead of the return fixture.

In-form Hearts of Oak forward, Daniel Barnieh Afriyie, scored the only goal on Saturday for Ghana which gave the Galaxies a double over the Beninese, sealing a 4-0 aggregate for the 2009 runners-up.

Poised to maintain the winning spirit, the Galaxies kept their calm and allowed the Beninese to come at them, but the centre-back pair of Hearts’ Mohammed Alhassan and Konadu Yiadom of WAFA kept their composure.

Ghana controlled and dominated proceedings which nearly paid off early with two chances falling on the path of Daniel Barnieh but could not make good use of them.

The Young Squirrels failed to make their final touches count despite threatening the goal area of Ghana on a few occasions as the first half ended goalless.

Back from recess, Galaxies still had the 3-0 advantage from the first half and were keen to avoid conceding against the home team.

Looking like a done deal for Ghana, the tactical brilliance of Coach Annor Walker was rewarded when he identified the weak link of Evans Osei-Owusu and Imoro Ibrahim and brought on Umar Bashiru and Dennis Korsah to add more bite to the left flank of attack.

Substitute Umar Bashiru disposed his opponent at the left side of attack and dummied past two Benin players inside the penalty box before laying the final pass to inform Daniel Barnieh Afriyie who scored in the 81st minute with a cool finish to make it 4-0 on aggregate.

Having missed out on the last three editions in 2016, 2018 and 2020, Annor Walker would have to work his fingers to the bone to halt the cycle of non-qualification.

Ghana would be expected to put up another impressive performance when they lock horns with the Young Eagles of Nigeria in their next stage of qualifiers, slated for August 26-28 for the first leg and September 2-4 for the return fixture.

Aggregate winner from the two legged affair will book a place in Algeria for the CHAN competition, next year.

BY LINUS SIAW NARTEY

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