Soccer News of Monday, 16 March 2015
Despite delivering another fine performance in the Bundesliga, Abdul Rahman Baba was on the losing team as his FC Aubsburg side were defeated at home by Mainz.
Baba and his teammates headed into Saturday’s match high on confidence having beaten Wolfsburg last weekend. However, as has been the case throughout the season, they have struggled for consistency and fell to defeat against relegation strugglers Mainz.
The loss comes as a blow to Augsburg’s hopes of European qualification, particularly with seventh-place Hoffenheim winning against Hamburg to close the gap to just two points.
Forward Shinji Okazaki opened the scoring on 32 minutes, firing past Marwin Hitz after a Daniel Baier blunder.
Augsburg had their chances, particularly in a lively second half, but fell further behind at the death as substitute Ja-Cheol Koo scored from a Mainz breakaway.
Despite his team’s failings—particularly in attack—Baba delivered an excellent performance.
Once again, his dribbling was particularly notable. According to WhoScored, he completed five successful dribbles—two more than the game’s second-best dribbler.
He also made one key pass and was defensively superb, making five successful tackles—the joint-best in the match—and completing three interceptions.
The Ghana international has been one of the outstanding performers of the Bundesliga campaign so far and has been a key figure for minnows Augsburg both offensively and defensively.
For the national side he has solved the problem left-back position and looks to be a shoo-in for the role for over a decade.
He made his Black Stars debut against Togo in the qualifiers for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations and has gone on to start 12 of Ghana’s next 13 matches, being an ever-present during the Afcon in Equatorial Guinea earlier this year.