Ghana humble Togo 1-0 in friendly
Ghana put up a spirited performance on Monday at the Accra Sports Stadium to hand new Togo coach Tom Sainfiet his first defeat since assuming duties less than a month ago.
A 36th minute strike from debutant Bernard Mensah was enough to hand the Black Stars an inspiring win over their close neighbours ahead of Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mauritius.
Ghana dictated the pace of the game right from the blast of the whistle and could have opened the scoring as early as the third minute when a through ball from Mensah found Frank Acheampong near the box but the Anderlecht winger’s close-range effort was blocked by Togo centre-back Serge Akakpo.
Trabzonspor forward Abdul Majeed Waris’ header was parried by Togo goalkeeper Cedric Mensah after a nice build-up on the left involving Abdul Rahan Baba, Acheampong and Christian Atsu.
The Sparrow Hawks began to find their footing after the first quarter, with former Heart of Lions player Komlan Amewou, Aboubacar Rachidou and Serge Gakpe of Ligue 1 side Nantes combining beautifully to unsettle Mubarak Wakaso and Rabiu Mohammed in the middle of the park.
Togo had a good chance in the 20th minute when skipper Thomas Dossevi’s header beat goalkeeper Fatau Dauda, but Acheampong’s timely intervention on the line saved the hosts.
Mensah attempted an audacious lob from 50 yards to exploit Togo goalkeeper’s advanced position but it narrowly missed the target.
Moments later, Bernard Mensah fired home a non-drop carpet shot from Mubarak's corner kick to put Ghana ahead 1-0 after 36 minutes.
The Hawks had a clear-cut chance to pull level in the 75th minute but former Valenciennes midfielder Thomas Dossevi's volley crashed against the crossbar.
Mubarak was shown a straight red card in the 77th minute for punching Komlan Amewou in the face after a brief altercation, with the Togolese also collecting a yellow card.
Togo had yet another chance seven minutes from fulltime when Prince Kossi Segbefia took a solo run into Ghana area unmarked. He was eventually dispossessed of the ball by John Boye, who quickly set Jeffrey Schlupp up for a counter which failed to yield.
Ghana will play host to Mauritius on Sunday at the same venue while Togo will face Liberia in Lome also the same day.