A second-half strike by Joseph Esso gave Ghana’s Black Stars B a 1-0 victory over their Gambian counterparts to get their West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations campaign off to a winning start at Stade Lat-Dior in Theis, Senegal, on Tuesday.
It took the great effort by Esso to get Ghana the winning goal in the 75th minute when he converted a cross from the left-back, Ibrahim Moro, after going through the Gambian defence.
The victory sets defending champions Ghana against Burkina Faso in the quarter-finals on Saturday. The Burkinabes advanced after beating Mauritania 4-3 on penalties, having drawn 1-1 during regulation time.
Maxwell Konadu’s side dominated the exchanges from the start of the game but could not get past the solid Gambian defence to convert some of the scoring chances that fell their way.
Ghana captain Shafiu Mumuni was denied a goal by the crossbar
Ghana took the game to their opponents in search of a goal and almost found the target in the 29th minute when a shot by the captain, Shafiu Mumuni, from just outside the Gambian penalty box bounced off the crossbar.
The Gambians also had their chances as they tormented the Ghanaian defence but found goalkeeper Ofori Antwi making a point-blank save to get his side off the hook.
In the 81st minute, Gambia blew away a chance to get even after they were gifted a questionable penalty but Maodou Chan’s strike hit the post beyond the outstretched hands of Antwi and deflected away much to the relief of the Ghanaians who held on to their slim lead to ensure victory.