Stars lose to Algeria in trial match

Ghana’s Black Stars was yesterday humbled 3-0 by Algeria’s Fennec Foxes in an international friendly at the Education City Stadium in Doha, Qatar as both sides wrapped up preparation for the African Cup of Nations(AFCON) in Cameroon which kicks off on Sunday.

An eighth minute opener from Napoli’s Adam Ounas and striker Islam Slimani’s 79th minute tap-in sandwiched Jonathan Mensah’s own goal in the 74th minute, extending the AFCON champions unbeaten streak to 39 games.

Stars coach MilovanRajevac would be pondering on his side’s lack of attacking prowess that rendered most of their threats unfruitful while also devising strategies to purge the shaky displays of his defense- all before his AFCON group opener against Morocco on Monday.

Algerian Coach DjamelBelmadi would take the results as a reassurance of his side’s readiness to defend the title whilst asserting their claim as a reckoning force of the African game.

Both sides featured second string teams with Ghana captain DedeAyew and brother Jordan Ayew unavailable after arriving late to camp. Left-back Baba Rahman, Rennes KamaldeenSulemana and Ajax’s Kudus Mohammed all missed.

Algerian captain RiyadMahrez and midfield maestro SofianeFeghouli were also out whilst Islam Slimani, Ismael Bannacer, Said Benrahma were introduced in the second-half.

Ounas got Algeria off to a promising start when he dummied Ghanaian left-back Gideon Mensah in a one-on-one confrontation, before creating space to fire past Ghana goalie, Abdul ManafNurudeen with a low shot.

The Ghanaians organised themselves after falling back, resorting to counter-attacking play orchestrated by Thomas Partey’s electrifying runs with the ball through the middle that gave the Algerians scary moments.

This nearly earned them an early reaction to cancel the deficit, but after Partey’s thumping run to put Joseph Paintsil through on the right, Paintsil delivered a poor cross with two Ghanaian attackers against two Algerian defenders in the Algeria area.

Determined to douse the growing Ghanaian confidence, the Algerians increased the pressure and nearly grabbed the second but striker Baghdad Bounedjah’s connection to a sweet free-kick from YacineBrahimi dragged wide.

The Stars were presented with a wave of opportunities to level early in the second-half but their blunt attack failed to find the back of the net.

Enterprising youngster, FatawuIssahaku’s curled effort was palmed away by experienced Algerian hand, RaisM’Bolhi.

The Stars goal scoring woes was once again exposed when substitute striker Benjamin Tetteh was put through after an impressive Stars passing move. One-on-One with M’Bolhi and the ball slipping away, Tetteh shot feebly with M’Bolhi’s outstretched legs clearing the ball out of danger.

Fatawu, who was Ghana’s brightest spot in attack pounced on a ball in the Algeria box after accessing a through ball but from a tight angle and denied a clear sight on goal, he shot directly at M’Bolhi.

Djamel’s introduction of Bannacer, Slimani and Benrahma handed back control of the game to the Algerians.

The Fennecs regained their dominance as midfielder YoucefAttal incisive cross was turned in by Mensah before Slimani added the third to crush the egos of the Ghanaians. 
BY NANA BENTSI ODURO

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