Sports News of Friday, 1 September 2017
Ghana’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup suffered a major blow after a 1-1 draw with a determined a Congolese side at the Baba Yara Stadium.
The Congolese right from the blast of the whistle took the game by the scruff of the neck and probed the jittery Ghanaian defence. Their efforts were nearly rewarded in the fourth minute when a miscommunication between defender Amartey and goalkeeper Ofori almost resulted in a goal.
Ghana woke up from its slumber with Atletico Madrid midfielder Partey creating some decent chances but his efforts were thwarted by the resolute Congolese defence.
With a predictable and sluggish build-up from Ghana, the Congolese defence had it easier preventing a goal from entering their net albeit dominant display by Ghana.
Congo took a shocking a lead in the 19th minute when a defensive blunder by debutant Attamah Larweh gifted striker Thievy Bifouma a ball who just hard to drive it past goalkeeper Steven Ofori.
The goal resurrected the Ghanaians who tried to fetch the equalizer in the first half but the efforts from Gyan and his forward line were either parried away by the agile Congolese keeper or the ball went out wide for a goal kick.
The first half ended with the away team being on the winning side.
Ghana came in strongly in the second half. Kwesi Appiah effected some substitutions with the aim of getting the equalizer but the compact Congolese side proved too difficult to be broken down.
Harrison Afful was brought on to replace Attamah Larweh who had a game to forget. Dede and his skipper Gyan made way for new guys to try their luck but the changes failed to yield significant impact as Ghana struggled to get an equalizer.
The tempo of the game took a drastic nosedive with the Congolese not in haste to move out of their defensive shells leaving the stars with no option but to resort to long balls.
Afful made a surging run inside the box and was picked up neatly by Partey but the Columbus Crew defender smashed his shot into the side net after intelligently spin with and a fine control.
Thomas Partey connected a pass from Atsu to get the much-needed equalizer with four minutes left on the clock.
Ghana poured men forward to get the much-needed winner but it was too late.
The draw leaves Ghana with just two points from three games.