Ghana 1-0 Ethiopia: Black Stars kickstart 2022 World Cup qualifiers with vital win

Ghana made a winning start to the 2022 World Cup qualifiers after recording a 1-0 win over Ethiopia on Friday evening.

A fortuitous long-range effort from midfielder Mubarak Wakaso midway through the first half was enough to hand the Black Stars all three points.

Charles Kwablan Akonnor’s side was largely dominant but chances were far and few between both teams.

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The Ghana coach opted for an attacking line-up, with Stade Rennes winger Kalamdeen Sulemana handed a start, alongside the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan, in attack.

But despite the array of attacking players, the Black Stars made a slow start to the game, with the opening half-hour characterised by sloppy passing and poor ball retention.

The first opening of the game came the way of Andre Ayew in the 12th minute, but his header was blocked by the Ethiopian defenders.

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The Black Stars captain went close again moments later when he tried to direct Kamaldeen’s cutback into the net, but his shot was mistimed, leading to a miscue.

Ethiopia equally had their moments in the first half after a brief spell of holding on to possession, although they couldn’t turn their possession into chances.

The Walias finally got their first shot on target in the 31st minute when a deflected shot looped into the waiting arms of goalkeeper Richard Ofori.

Four minutes later, though, Wakaso sent the over 2,000 fans inside the Cape Coast stadium into a state of delirium when his long-range shot ended at the back of the net following a howler by Ethiopia goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko.

The Ghana midfielder unleashed a speculative shot from 35 years and the goalkeeper made a complete mess of the situation, as the ball embarrassingly went in through his legs.

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Ethiopia returned after the break with more determination and nearly snatched the equaliser late in the came when Charenet Gugesa was left unmarked in Ghana’s penalty box but his shot was parried away by Ofori.

Despite a series of changes by both teams in the second half, no further goals were recorded in the second half as Ghana claimed an important victory over the Walias.

The Black Stars will hope to make it two wins from two qualifying matches when they travel to Johannesburg to take on South Africa on Monday.

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