The dream for a fourth successive appearance at the biggest stage in world football may well have ended for Ghana after Congo put up a masterful performance to earn a 1-1 stalemate in Kumasi.
After picking up only just a point in two games, Ghana were given a lifeline by Uganda yesterday to get their World Cup qualification campaign back on track but instead fluffed it.
And the inquest will begin as to what really accounted for the players’ lethargic display in a must-win game against whipping boys of Group E.
Perhaps the players overly celebrated Uganda’s stunning 1-0 win over Egypt, which blew the race wide open that they forgot to remain focused on the ultimate task of beating Congo.
With the second most powerful man in the country, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia watching on from a comfortable place at the Baba Yara sports stadium, Kwesi Appiah’s charges failed to impress and were even lucky to get a point.
The Red Devils game plan worked to perfection with Kwesi Appiah made to pay for poor selection.
Joseph Attamah, who often operates as a centre back or defensive midfielder was played in an unfamiliar right-back role and it was his blunder that led to Thievy Bifouma opening the scoring with a neat effort on the 21 minutes. The top scorer in the qualifier for Congo, left unmarked, drilled home from close range.
Ghana went in search of a reply with Partey looking the most likely, his rasping effort well saved by Barel Mouko in the 38th minute.
It was no surprise to see Harrison Afful introduced at right-back following the interval, and it was he who threatened in the 70th minute. The USA-based defender was unlucky to see his shot rattle the side-netting.
Jordan Ayew was denied by Mokou soon after before Partey stepped up to the plate with both Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew substituted.
The Atletico Madrid man finding the back of the net following a defence-splitting pass by Christian Atsu with 85 minutes on the clock.
Too little too late, though, for Ghana who will need a miracle if they are to book a ticket to the world showpiece in Russia.
The result means Black Stars are five points behind leaders Uganda with three matches to go.
The winner of the group qualifies for Russia next year.
BLOG: Ghana 1-1 Congo – As it happened
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