Friday Nov 17, 2023. 20:08
It took a 95th minute winner from Inaki Williams to gift Ghana maximum points in their opening Group I 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier, as the Black Stars recorded a 1-0 win against Madagascar at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium on Friday.
Madagascar settled well onto the ball during opening stages of the game and penned the home team back on numerous occasions. The Black Stars battled to get out of their half as Madagascar stroked the ball around with precision.
Despite Madagascar’s dominance, the visiting side failed to make the most of their attacking advancements while Ghana provided little threats of their own.
Barea continued to pile on the pressure as the half-hour mark approached, with goalkeeper Richard Ofori being kept on his toes while his defence played on the back foot.
Ghana managed to get into the game with patient build-up play toward the end of the first-half and manufactured a couple of goal scoring opportunities in the process. However, the Black Stars were met by aggressive defending by the travelling outfit.
However, it was Madagascar who ended the first 45 on the front foot and troubled the Ghana backline on numerous occasions, as Ofori pleaded with his defence to remain calm.
Chris Hughton’s half-time team talk appeared to have injected much-needed energy into his team as Ghana commenced the second-half on a proactive note. Inaki Williams managed to find the back of the net soon after the restart, however, the linesman managed to spot an offside infringement inside the box which ruled out the attacker’s effort.
Nonetheless, Madagascar continued to ask questions from an attacking point of view and provided Ghana with a couple of nervy defensive moments after the hour mark.
Second-half substitute Ernest Nuama was at the forefront of Ghana’s attacking thrusts after the 70th minute mark, while Lalaina’s proved to be Madagascar’s attacker-in-chief at the other end of the pitch.
Mohammed Kudus was presented with one of the chances of the half in the 84rd minute, after finding himself one-one-one with Melvin Adrien in goal. However, the Madagascar goalkeeper did well to keep the West Ham attacker at bay with a telling save.
In what was dramatic scenes at the end of the game, Inaki Williams broke the deadlock in the 95th minute with a fine header from close range, as Ghana bagged maximum points on home soil.
Ghana (0) 1 (Williams 90+5’)
Ghana: Ofori, Seidu (Odoi 46’), Opoku, Amartey (Nuhu 63’), Mensah, Abdul Samed, Baba (Ashimeru 46’), Kudus, Ayew (Bukari 82’), Williams, Semenyo (Nuamah 73’)
Madagascar: Adrien, Boto (Fortun 80’), Fontaine, Razafindraibeharimihanta (Demoleon 71’), Metanire, Randriatsiferana (Raheriniaina 71’), Lapoussin (Lalaina 57’), IIaimaharitra, Raveloson, Bertrand (Randrianarijaona 70’), Rakotoharimalala