Asamoah rocket seals Ghana win against Zambia to advance to World Cup qualifying play –off
Ghana are two games away from the World Cup finals after a win against Zambia in their final group game in which they only needed a draw. Goals from Abdul Waris and Kwadwo Asamoah were enough for the Black Stars in a fiercely competitive game and electric atmosphere in Kumasi. The match was preceded by a series of accusations by Zambia of Ghanaian gamesmanship, including delaying their arrival by refusing landing rights for their charter plane and then denying them the chance to train at the venue on the eve of the game. Ghana denied the allegations in statement on their football association website.
Thus these accusations did nothing to calm the atmosphere in what was already a vital match for both teams in the Baba Yara Stadium Kumasi. A lot of talk before the game was whether Andre Ayew, Michael Essien & Kevin Prince Boateng would start after their return from self imposed retirement. As it was Boateng was injured but there were starting places for both Essien and Ayew.
The Zambians started the game on the stronger foot as the Black Stars’ eagerness to win the game seemed to give them early jitters leading to a free kick in a dangerous area for the Zambians early on, but Rainford Kalaba was unable to beat the wall with his kick. The Andre Ayew and Emmanuel Mayuka both had headed efforts at goal within a matter of minutes but neither managed to trouble the opposition goalkeeper though the Ghanaian’s effort had been on target.
The Black Stars nerve seemed to settle leading to first clear chance of the game in the 12th minute which fell to skipper Asamoah Gyan but the Al Ain forward’s header from an Opare cross failed to hit the target. It was persistent work from John Boye which saw the defender chase down what looked to be a lost cause before fizzing the ball across the face of goal and onto the head of Waris who opened the scoring with a stooping header.
The Zambians started the second half as they ended the first breaking through the Ghanaian defence on no less than three occasions in the first five minutes of the half. However Essien’s presence seemed to liberate Juventus midfielder Asamoah who strolled forward to put the Ghanaians firmly in the driving seat with a scorching effort from range past Mwene to double Ghana’s lead.
The Chipolopolo pulled a goal back through Nathan Sinkala but despite mounting pressure on the hosts, they failed to secure the equaliser before the full time whistle and Ghana held on to claim victory. The Black stars now progress to the final qualifying round next round where they will meet a yet to be decided team in a two-legged play-off tie to determine one of the five teams to represent Africa in Brazil next year.
In the Black Stars we trust!
Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)