World Cup
World Cup

Four-time African champions, Ghana, were held to a pulsating 1-1draw by visiting Congo in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier at the Baba Yara Stadium, Kumasi, on Friday.

The scoreline leaves Ghana’s Black Stars in a difficult situation in their bid to make it to next year’s championship, having qualified to the finals on three consecutive occasions since making their first appearance in 2006.

Uganda, the surprise team, tops Group E with seven points, followed by African giants, Egypt who are placed second on six points, while Ghana and Congo occupy the third and fourth positions with two points and one point, respectively.

On a day when the Stars, in the course of the game, had to replace their skipper Asamoah Gyan and his deputy, Andrew Dede Ayew, clearly showed that the team lacked the steam and the flair to carry the day.

The Congolese, led by inspirational striker, Thievy Bifouma, took the lead on the 17th minute, and the deadly striker would connect home a Fabrice Nguessi well-laid pass in the opponents’ goal area.

It was a well-rehearsed goal by the visitors and it came from a sloppy marking by the Ghanaian defense of Atamah Larweh Dan Amartey and Jonathan Mensah.

The defencemen, who looked jittery throughout the match failed to clear their lines and allowed the Congolese to break the deadlock.

Ghana would make desperate attempts to fetch the equalizer in the latter stages of the first half, and the last five minutes saw Jordan Ayew, Christian Atsu and Gyan bombarding the visitors’ vital area with series of incursions to find the back of the net.

The homers with defeat looming right in their face brought on Thomas Agyepong for skipper Gyan, while Kwadwo Poku replaced Andre Ayew in the 61st and 66th minutes, respectively.

The changes brought a significant improvement in the game pattern of the Stars as they went ahead to snatch the equalizer in the 85th minute.

The goal, courtesy a swift counter-attack from the desperate Ghanaians, saw Jordan Ayew deliver a carpet pass which was connected home by Atletico Madrid defender,Thomas Partey.

Source: GNA/