Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew marked his return to the Ghana national team with a brace in the Black Stars 2-0 win over Ethiopia in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday afternoon.
Ayew made his return to Kwesi Appiah’s side for the first time since featuring in the Black Stars World Cup qualifying draw with Congo Brazzaville in October 2017.
The 27-year-old opened the scoring in the fourth minute after calmly slotting home from close range to give the visitors the lead at the Addis Ababa Stadium.
The goal was Jordan's first for his country since January 29, 2017, and he didn't have to wait long for his second as he struck again. Midway through the first half, the Black Stars were awarded a penalty after Emmanuel Boateng was tripped by Ethiopia goalkeeper Abel Mamo. Ayew took on the spot kick and easily converted to double the visitors’ lead in the 24th minute.
The Black Stars were in cruise control from then on, looking only to manage the game by holding Ethiopia at arm’s length and looking to counter-attack whenever the opportunity arose. The Wayla Antelopes grew in confidence near the end of the first half but were unable to make any real inroads before the interval.
The second half saw Ghana maintain the status quo: they controlled the game and kept any threat from the home side under wraps, but struggled to click into higher gears going forward.
Andre Ayew had the ball in the back of the net with just under 10 minutes of regulation time left to play, but his hopes of a third goal for the team were dashed, with the referee blowing for a clear and obvious foul from the forward on a defender.
In the end, Ghana held out for a comfortable and important victory, though their performance – apart from the opening 25 minutes – left much to be desired.
The victory takes Ghana to second on the Group F standings, a point behind leaders Kenya, who have seven points.
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