Sports Features of Thu, 7 Sep 20172
2018 World Cup Qualifiers: No Thomas, No Partey
Thomas Partey emerged as the unlikeliest of hero's for Ghana as the Black Stars kept their slim hopes of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification alive.
Partey, 24, scored a hat-trick as Ghana thumped Congo 5-1 in Brazzaville on Tuesday. The Atletico Madrid midfielder making it four goals in two games against the Red Devils, having scored the equaliser in a 1-1 draw at the Baba Yara Stadium last Friday.
Egypt regained control of Group E following a narrow 1-0 win over Uganda in Alexandria, and the Pharaohs remain favourites to end their World Cup hiatus.
Ghana, though, will remain hopeful that they can make it four World Cup appearances in succession and have Partey to thank for keeping their dream alive.
Without the influential trio of Andre Ayew, brother Jordan & Asamoah Gyan respectively - Ghanaian's were skeptical heading to Congo for the reverse fixture, but their absence gave two upcoming stars the platform to shine.
Partey's treble astutely assisted by Richmond Boakye's brace as the Black Stars proved that there is indeed life after the star trio.
Moreover, Ghana head coach Kwesi Appiah remains hopeful that his troops can book their ticket to Russia, but knows that it is not in their hands.
Egypt could seal their place at next year's showpiece with victory at home to Congo next month, with Ghana traveling to Kampala for a clash against an impressive Ugandan outfit.
The Black Stars will be hoping that the Red Devils can do them a favour in Alexandria with Ghana to host the Egyptians in the final round of qualifying.
"I always maintain that the most important thing to do is to win our remaining matches, but as to say emphatically that we can book a place in the finals, let's leave it to God to decide," Appiah is quoted as saying. "The bottom line is to keep focus and win our games."