By Dennis Osei Gyamfi, GNA
Accra, March 23, GNA – 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
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
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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