No last laugh for Stars

BY: Peter Sarbah and Timothy Gobah
 Stars’ goal hero, Edwin Gyasi stays in control as Karim Seifeldin of Egypt tries to distract him. Picture: EMMANUEL QUAYE
Stars’ goal hero, Edwin Gyasi stays in control as Karim Seifeldin of Egypt tries to distract him. Picture: EMMANUEL QUAYE

Ghana's Black Stars failed to live up to their promise of silencing the Pharaohs of Egypt as they were held to a 1-1 draw by the Egyptians in their final Group E World Cup qualifier honoured at the Cape Coast Stadium.

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Indeed, the Stars could have been greatly embarrassed, forced to fight from a goal down before recovering to share the points with the Russia 2018-bound Egyptians, who had nothing to lose in this game.

Having made a promise to win in this final game as a consolation for missing out on the 2018 Mundial, the Stars wasted chances, and had a rude awakening when Egypt took the lead through Mahmoud Fadlalla on the 71st minute, before an unsuspecting deflective shot from Edwin Gyasi, three minutes later, put them back on even terms to salvage a point.

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Significantly, much as Gyasi didn’t get the chance to celebrate a victory with his side, he still could savour his first goal on his international debut.

Obviously, the results did not matter much for coach Hector Cooper's men who took this game as a mere academic exercise, having already picked the slot to the 2018 World Cup slated for Russia.

Their goal came against the run of play, when the Stars had dominated and created chances, but failed to find the net.

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It took the Black Stars only five minutes to make their first attempt at goal with Opoku Agyemang firing from a close range, but his feeble effort was easily dealt with by goalkeeper Sherif Ahmed.

Just when the Ghanaians thought they were having a field day, the Egyptians called goalkeeper Richard Ofori to duty when Amro Gad advanced into the box to fire at goal two minutes later.

Ghana’s defence was again called into desperate defending on the eighth minute, when Daniel Amartey cheaply gave the ball away to Mahamud Hassan, but he blasted it away.

Ghana maintained their dominance and on the 14th minute, returnee Mubarak Wakaso delivered one of his trade mark strikes, but goalkeeper Ahmed saved it before Raphael Dwamena also tumbled with the goalkeeper to beat on the 21st minute when he was cleverly put through .

Coach Appiah’s men maintained the tempo in the second half, and created few chances, failing to convert and had that rude awakening on the 71st minute when Hassan set up Fadlalla to put the ball at the blind side of goalkeeper Ofori to silence the Ghanaian fans.

However, Gyasi restored the voices of the fans when he equalised three minutes later with his first goal for the Stars.

Afterwards, Ghana dominated and created several chances, but substitute Patrick Twumasi and Abdul Majeed Waris disappointed by not converting them, leaving the Stars glued at third place on seven points in the final standings, as Congo and Uganda also played to a 1-1 draw.

Egypt the campaign finished on 13 points, Uganda second on nine, and Congo last on two points.