Football

Gritty Guinea hold Ghana

Ghana have jumped to the top of Group E in the ongoing AFCON qualifiers after they were held by a gritty Guinean side in a pulsating 1-1 drawn game played in Morocco.

Following defeat to Group leaders Uganda who were beaten by Togo early on in the day, the Black Stars had all to do to consolidate their position in the group.

And when Gyan put the Stars ahead in the 27th minute, the dream of the Stars was just on course.

The skipper connected from close range with his weaker left foot thanks to a sublime pass by striking partner Jordan Ayew. Jordon shoved off a challenge from his marker before releasing Gyan who made no mistake at all with the goal keeper at his mercy.

But the host came back strongly in the second half to pull even after an enthralling end-to-end action. 

It was a hugely physical game with chances few and far between in the first half. Baba Rahman made a stupendous run upfield down the left flank just within the quarter of an hour but selflessly decided to find Gyan when he could have gone for goal himself. His pass went across the face of goal with nobody to connect.

The Guineans who were playing home away from home due to the threat of ebola struggled to break a solid Ghana defence marshalled by Jonathan Mensah and Awal Mohammed.

From recess the host took the game to the Stars in a desperate bid to get the equaliser. And just within minutes of the second half Guinea had the opportunity to draw level but the Syli Nationale side almost always lacked ideas in the final third.

They were on rampage though, pounding the goal area of the Ghana side but Jonathan Mensah was a man mountain for Ghana.

In the 63rd minute Guinea should have drawn level but how their striker managed to miss a header from close range still remains a mystery.  He leapt over Harrison Afful but his header from close range was horribly misdirected.

Three minutes later though it was a near own goal situation from the host with the defender nearly connecting a header into his own net.

After probing the Ghana goal, the pressure from the Guinean side paid off and in spectacular fashion.

Ibrahima Traore cut in from the right in the 80th minute and on his cultured left foot released a thunderbolt which hit the cross bar before entering the net. It was a goal of breathtaking genius.

The Styli Nationale side pressed on in search for victory but it was the Stars who nearly got the match winner but Warris' outstretched leg failed to connect well to a Gyan cross on the right.

In a last gasp effort the host had a corner well delivered but the header could only go wayward much to the disappontment of the Guineans.

The results left the group wide opened with all the four sides nursing  qualification ambitions for next year's nations cup.

Ghana top the group with five points with Uganda and Guinea tied at four. Togo also have three points. 

Ghana play Guinea on the return leg in Tamale on Wednesday with Togo hosting Uganda.

 

More soon

 

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