Stars tame Wild Dogs to reach AFCON last 16

The Black Stars posted a 2-0 victory over the ‘Wild Dogs’ of Guinea Bissau in the ongoing 2019 AFCON competition in Egypt.

Yesterday’s win over a determined and physically endowed Guinea Bissau side in the city of Suez was Ghana’s first win at the competition and sealed Ghana’s qualification to the round of 16 stage of the competition.

After enduring a difficult first half, the Stars resumed the second half gusto and fetched the opener through Jordan Ayew on the 47th minute mark before Partey doubled the lead in the 72nd minute.

To avoid the uncertainty of waiting for other results to know their fate with respect to qualification, the Stars faced a must-win situation which manifested in their approach for the game.

The Stars went straight into battle after the first whistle and had a corner in the third minute but was wasted.

Surprisingly, the Ghanaians slumped with that performance, finding it difficult to find spaces to operate as the ‘Wild Dogs’ guarded their area and thwarted the Stars efforts.

Beginning to find their rhythm, Guinea Bissau capitalized on a Partey error to attack the Stars in the 14th minute but Mama Samba Balde was dispossessed in the penalty after a struggle with Joseph Aidoo.

Four minutes later, Guinea recorded the first of the five goal bound shots that hit the post when Piqueti Djassi Brito E Silva caught the Stars defence on a counter; rounded off Aidoo to unleash a grounder that hit the Ghanaian post with goalkeeper, Richard Ofori, beaten.

Aidoo was beaten again on another counter-attack and in the process brought down the Guinea Bissau attacker for the first yellow card of the match.

Jordan went close to scoring the opener for Ghana after intercepting a trademark Mubarak Wakasu long pass but after controlling, he fired a low one that hit the goal post in the 37th minute. Andre Ayew fired the rebound against an onrushing defender of the Wild Dogs.

With the Black Stars enjoying about 63 percent of possession at the final stages of the half, they kept play in the opponents’ area with Partey providing the last test of the half with a strike which was dealt with by the Guinea Bissau goalkeeper, Jonas.

Ghana kept pressing for the leader in the second half with the early onslaughts that yielded the right result this time as Jordan curled beautifully for the opener.

A typical man-to-man passing in midfield put Jordan behind the defence of the Wild Dogs who chased him to clear the area but they found the Ghana marksman too late as he controlled once and curled over a hapless Jonas Mendes to put the Stars dream on course.

But the error-strewn passing of the Stars continued and in the 52nd minute presented the Wild Dogs a decent opportunity to equalize after an over-elaborating Baba Rahman lost possession in their opponents’ area but once again, Balde’s shot hit the goal post to the relief of the Ghana defender.

The Stars lived dangerously after the goal as the Wild Dogs chase the equalizer but was not destined to score on the day as they hit the goalpost for the third time with Ofori saving another within a four-minute blitz.

They effected two quick changes afterwards to which Ghana coach, Kwesi Appiah responded with the substitution of Kwabena Owusu for the experienced Kwadwo Asamoah in the 65th minute.

That change was to give Partey the freedom to move forward; resulting in the second goal that had four players contributing to it.

With possession in the Stars half, Wakasu found Andre Ayew in the Guinea Bissau area of the field and despite being heavily marked, found a way to pass through the advanced Wild Dogs defence for Rahman who quickly squared to Partey who shrugged the challenge of his marker to tap home Ghana’s third goal.

BY ANDREW NORTEY

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