Black Stars In Spectacular Comeback
Accra, Nov. 30, GNA - Ghana Black Stars displayed resilience as they came from two goals down to clinch a 3-2 victory over Super Eagles of Nigeria in the first leg final round qualifier for the African Nations Championship (CHAN).
The Nigerians jumped into two goals lead through Musah Kabiru in their tension-packed encounter at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra on Sunday.
Parading a squad with six defensive minded players in the starting team, the Stars failed to click at the early stages, allowing the Nigerians to win the midfield battle.
The midfield made up of Jordan Opoku, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Daniel Yeboah and Francis Coffie was virtually non-existent and leaked terribly, while the composed Nigerian trio of Olawale Issaka, Henry Uche and Elvis Kingsley made inroads into the Ghanaian half. Their efforts paid off after 21 minutes, when Kabiru broke the deadlock as he slammed home after Yeboah failed to clear his lines in a goalmouth action.
The goal alerted Stars' Coach Milovan Rajevac of the weak spot in his midfield and 10 minutes later, the Serbian sacrificed Opoku for substantive captain Edmund Owusu-Ansah, whose omission from the starting line-up stunned all.
The substitution brought some level of stability into the Stars midfield and 60 seconds later, the Stars came close to scoring but Eric Bekoe blasted wide.
With a minute to halftime, an individual display of brilliance by light-skinned Uche saw Kabiru double the lead with a weak header. Coffie restored hope when he reduced the tally on the stroke of half time with a spectacular shot.
The Stars' game saw a major improvement in the second half and it came as a matter of course when Coffie scored his personal second and the equalizer on the hour-mark.
Samuel Inkoom clinched victory in the 74th minute. The Left Back's solo run saw him mesmerising the Nigerian rear before slipping the ball past the Nigerian goalie, Bassey Akpan to give Ghana's campaign a glimmer of hope.
The result means that the Stars must keep a clean sheet in the second leg encounter in Abuja in a fortnight to book their place at the maiden edition of the competition reserved exclusively for local based players, slated for La Cote d'Ivoire next year.
LINE-UP Ghana - Fatau Dauda, Samuel Inkoom, Habib Mohamed, Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, Ofosu Appiah, Godfred Yeboah, Daniel Yeboah, Jordan Opoku/Edmund Owusu-Ansah, Yaw Antwi/Alex Asamoah, Eric Bekoe/Kojo Poku, Francis Coffie
Nigeria - Bassey Akpan, Henry Uche/Nwachi Ikechukwu, Nnaemka Anyawu, Nwabi Valentine, Sulemana Sumaila, Ike ThankGod, Koformata Bello, Itodo Cletus, Musa Kabiru/Efe Ambrose, Olawale Issaka/Omodiagbe Arewane