2021 AFCON qualifiers: Stars beat Sao Tome to go top

Author: George Ernest Asare
Jordan Ayew scored the only goal of the match
Jordan Ayew scored the only goal of the match

A 47nd  minute spot kick expectly taken by Jordan Ayew gave Ghana a lone goal victory over unsound Sao Tome and Principe in their  2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group C qualifier match played at Sao Tome yesterday.

The Stars who held their host at bay in most part of the first half, had the chance to open the scoring moments after the second half started, but Emmanuel Boateng who was in a good position to open the deadlock was firmly held by goalkeeper George Eusebio who had fumbled with the ball in his goal area.

The referee who was close by whistled and pointed to the spot, and Jordan Ayew who elected himself the kick proved his worth as an expert in penalty kicks when he displaced the stocky goalkeeper and planted te ball cooly in the net for the match opener which turned out to be the math winner for Ghana.

By that win, Ghana toppled Sudan from the top spot of the  group table and assumed the reigns.

At the Orlando Stadium in Johannesburg yesterday, Sudan who were the occupants of the table in Group C with three points  were humbled when they suffered a lone goal defeat in another Group C  encounter.

The Black Stars who defeated  Bafana Bafana of South Africa 2-0 in their first leg match  last  Thursday were highly tipped to return home with a cricket scoreline over their opponents yesterday  but as if they were in Sao Tome and Principe for a honeymoon, they  only kept the ball to themselves with deft touches and controls as if they were in a training sessions with nothing at stake.

Sao Tome and Principe who lost 0-4 to Sudan in their first match were not in the mood to go down heavily in their own backyard., so they massed up a heavily in defence with not less that eight players in their goal area to ward off any attack from the less hungry ball joggling  Ghanaians.

Notwithstanding their massive ball possessions, controls and seemingly  less attacks by the Ghanaians, their opponents continued to hold them at bay, with good markings, offside traps and fluid tackings which succeeded in keeping  the Ghanaians in checks in the first  45 minutes.

When the second half resumed, the Ghanaians surged forward  in an attempt to open the scoring, and in one of their attacks in the 47th minute  goalkeeper Gilmar Lima Sacramento Eusebio who had been very busy to deny the Ghanaians  lost control of the ball in his goal area and therefore   surged  forward to  bring Emmanuel Boateng down to prevent him from scoring..

 The referee who was  close by whistled for a spot kick and Jordan Ayew who elected himself for kick converted nicely to give his side the lead.

The two teams accepted the challenge, but while Ghana continued to mass up at the goal area of their opponents with the hope to increase the tally, Sao Tom,e and Principe withdrew more men into defence to stop the Ghanaians from adding onto their woes and succeeded in doing so until the referee ended the match.

By the victory, Ghana now top the Group C table with the maximum six points  with Sudan occupying the second spot three points while South Africa take the third spot with tree points. The whipping men on table Sao Tome and Principle who had lost two of their matches occupy the fourth spot with no point.