The Black Stars of Ghana got off to a good start in the Africa qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup as they defeated the Walia ibex of Ethiopia 1-0 at the Cape Coast Stadium on Friday evening.
Mubarak Wakaso’s 30-yard first half strike proved crucial for the Black Stars as they secured maximum points to go top of Group G after the other group encounter between Zimbabwe and South Africa ended in a goalless stalemate.
The match started on a cagey note with few chances created by both sides but the Black Stars looked the more dangerous in attack.
Ghana dominated possession in the first 20 minutes and Jordan Ayew nearly put the home side ahead but couldn’t connect from a Jeffery Schulpp cross.
Schulpp couldn’t continue the game having sustained an injury in the 23rd minute and was replaced by Daniel Kyereh.
Ghana’s shot stopper Richard Ofori was largely a spectator past the half hour mark but tested in the 31st minute but easily dealt with a lopped shot from Ethiopia winger Teffesse Solomon.
Mubarak Wakaso opened the scoring for the home side after a ferocious left foot drive in the 35th minute which was poorly handled by Ethiopia goalkeeper Telemariam Shonko.
Jordan Ayew had a penalty appeal waived by the Referee in the late stages of the first half with Ghana holding on to their solitary lead going into recess.
The visitors started the second half more purposeful as they searched for the equalizer.
Ethiopia attacker Shemeles Bekele came close in restoring parity for the visitors past the hour-mark but his shot at goal missed by a whisker.
The Black Stars were largely on the back foot as they resorted to a series of counter-attacks which couldn’t yield the cushion goal with substitute Yaw Yeboah coming close.
Ethiopia nearly pulled parity in the 83rd minute after captain Getanah Kedebe struck a low drive effort but Richard Ofori pulled up a brillant save with Daniel Amartey completing the clearance.
Ghana held on to secure all three points and will travel to South Africa to face the Bafana Bafana in the second group match encounter scheduled for Monday, September 6, 2021.