MUBARAK Wakaso’s 35th minute long drive was enough to seal all three points for the Black Stars of Ghana against the Walias of Ethiopia in the opening fixture of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers at the Cape Coast stadium last Friday.
The victory sends Ghana to the summit of Group G after opponents Zimbabwe and South Africa shared spoils, following a goalless stalemate in an exciting clash.
Led by skipper Andre Ayew, the Stars started brightly and created few incursions in the opening 15 minutes.
An early injury forced Jeffrey Schlupp to make way for debutant Daniel Kofi Kyereh in the 28th minute.
China-based Wakaso got the breakthrough for Ghana 10 minutes from the break as his thunderbolt strike from outside the box beat Ethiopia’s goalkeeper Teklemarian Shanko.
Shanko failed to have a firm grab as the ball went through his legs to give Ghana the lead into the break.
Back from recess, the visitors took control of the game but failed to create any real scoring opportunity.
In the 68th minute, speedster Yaw Yeboah came on for Kamaldeen Sulemana and moments later, he unleashed a long strike, but Ethiopia’s substitute goalie Fasil Gebremichael managed an outstanding save before Andre followed up with a rebound.
The Ethiopians nearly produced a stunning leveller in the dying embers of the game but goalkeeper Richard Ofori stretched to make a save before defender Daniel Amartey cleared the ball to corner which was wasted by the visitors.
The subsequent exchanges from both sides failed to yield any result as the game dragged to a close with Ghana picking their first win.
Only 2,250 fans were admitted to the Cape Coast Sports Stadium for the game due to COVID-19.
Coach CK Akonnor and his charges will face the Bafana Bafana of South Africa today at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, while Ethiopia play host to Zimbabwe in the other Group G encounter.
BY LINUS SIAW NARTEY