Ekuban’s Goal Puts Ghana Black Stars on Top of Group F

Ghana Black Stars Walking
Ghana Black Stars Walking

Caleb Ansah Ekuban got off to a perfect start to his national team career as his solitary goal put the Black Stars on top of Group F of the African Cup Of Nations (AFCON) qualifier for Egypt.

The Trabzonspor striker scored his first international goal against Harambees Stars of Kenya just under 20 minutes to the start of his international career at the Accra Sports Stadium on March 23.

Black Stars started the game with so much confidence and intent.

With the fans behind them and playing infront of the fans at Accra Sports Stadium for the first time in five years, there was every reason for the team to produce a top level performance.

Newcastle midfielder, Christian Astu gave the Kenyans a taste of what to expect in 90 minutes from the left side of attack, when he dummied his marker … to send in a teasing cross which was intercepted by the Kenyan defence.

The Kenyan defence protected by their experienced skipper Victor Wayama. The Harambee Stars made it difficult for the Ghanaians to break through and was forced to string passes in the midfield and wide area with no end action.

The Harambee Stars had however had enough of the toothless play from the host taking them by a surprise in the eighth minute when right back Philemon Otieno hit hard a dangerous cross inside the 18 yard box from an overlapping run forcing Ghanaian goalkeeper, Richard Ofori to make his first save of the game.

Kwesi Appiah’s men realised how dangerous their opponents could be and reacted squarely. The most dangerous man on the day, Atsu floated in another good cross from the left side off attack but was again timely intercepted by Kenyan goalie Allan Wetende, who got hurt from a collision with Ghanaian Skipper in the process. Andre Dede Ayew unfortunately got his goal in the 33 minute, disallowed following a scramble in the penalty area with the Hrambees.

Dede Ayew’s initial header was parried by the goalkeeper with reactions inside the box from both teams as the Ghanaian skipper subsequently followed up from the save to collided with the goalkeeper before the ball went into the net, but the Botswanian referee called for a free kick.

The Black Stars continue to put pressure on their counterparts, which saw the Ghanaians creating few chances in the process as the scariest chance towards the end of first half fell to striker Emmanuel Boateng, who forced a save from Kenyan goalie Wetende.

Nothing really changed after recess as fans continue to grow impatient with the Black Stars lack of purpose at the third half of the pitch.

Wetende was however called into action few times in the second half but all saves passed for nothing but routine saves.

However, a blunder by defender John Boye in the 63rd minute almost cost the Stars when substitute Mutamba Pistone Vunyoli robbed him off the ball.

Vunyoli was clear on goal but a miss-kick from him allowed the on rushing Richard Ofori to pick the ball.

The home fans seemed more frustrated as the boring play of their team was compounded by the frustration of referee, who denied them team of some clear infringements.

But the long wait of the fans for a goal ended in the 82nd minute when second half substitute Caleb Ekuban latched onto a long searching ball from deep in the midfield produced a carpet shot to the bottom left corner of the goalpost with goalie Witende having no antidote to it.

The Accra Sports Stadium erupted to the goal confirming everything the fans had waited for in the night.

The results means the Black Stars will top Group F and their opponents Kenya picking the second position in the group.

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