Wakaso, Jordan strike

BY: Daniel K. Kenu
Ghana’s man-of-the-match, Mubarak Wakaso (11) celebrating his opener in the arms reserve goalie at the touch-line. Running to join the celebration are Harrison Afful (23) and Jonathan Mensah (19)

After guiding the Black Stars to kick out troublesome Comoros from reaching the group stage of the African qualifiers of the 2018 Russia FIFA World Cup, Coach Avram Grant believed the perceived rage of the fans ahead of the match gingered his charges to deliver victory yesterday.


“We played for the fans and I am glad we were able to turn on the style one more time. I am glad they thronged the stadium to back the team to victory,” Grant said after Ghana’s 2-0 win against the least ranked team in Africa, Les Coelecantes of the Comoros Island, at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

Mubarak Wakaso broke the deadlock after a stubborn display by the Islanders with a made-to-measure curl of a free kick outside the penalty area in the 18th minute before Jordan Ayew put the icing on the cake with the second goal after 85 minutes.

But despite the win, the Stars coach was sincere enough to admit there was more work to be done during the group qualifiers to pick one of Africa's five tickets for the Mundial.

Having been stretched to a scoreless away first leg in Moroni in the Comoros last Friday, the Stars had only to capitalise on the home advange in Kumasi to see off the Islanders, who endeared themselves with a performance that at certain stages rather made them look more like the home team.

Indeed, they gave the Stars a scare in the 11th minute when speedster Mogni Ahmed came close to scoring the opener but saw his shot parried by goalkeeper Razak Brimah with the ball going off the upright before rolling down the goal-line.

The brought a rapid response from the Stars with Emmanuel Agyemang Badu latching onto a pass from skipper Asamoah Gyan, but the Italy-based international fluffed the chance, shooting off wide.

Skipper Asamoah Gyan was himself not t outstanding on the day as he missed two opportunities, one in each half, firstly heading off a Dede Ayew in-swinger in the 23rd minute and blowing off a six-yard chance with only goalkeeper Boina Ben Salin to beat.

But the game degenerated into a comedy of errors during a raining second half with narrow misses. While Jordan brushed the side of the upright in the 76th minute and Dede's header expertly thwarted by goalkeeper Salin, the Islanders also came close intermittently.

Lybian referee Omar Ragab Mohammed could have called off the match due to the rains but he persevered and the Stars seized the opportunity to make victory certain when Jordan dribbled past two defenders to fire into the top right corner for the second goal.

Black Stars: Razak Braimah, Harrison Afful, Baba Rahman, Jonathan Mensah/Daniel Amartey, John Boye, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Mubarak Wakaso, Andre Ayew, Solomon Asante/Jeffery Schlupp, Jordan Ayew, Asamoah Gyan/Samuel Tetteh.