The Black Stars of Ghana have advanced to the play-off stages of the 2022 Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup qualifiers after beating South Africa by a lone goal at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium.
A 33rd-minute penalty converted by Captain Andre Ayew was the minimum requirement by Ghana to make the progress, as they topped the group with a superior goal difference, though they have tied 13 points apiece with South Africa.
It was a game South Africa needed just a draw to make progress whilst Ghana needed at least a lone goal victory to make progress, saw the two sides starting a very busy note announcing their intention to win the game.
Coach Milovan Rajevac made two changes to the set that played against Ethiopia last Thursday, by pairing Alexander Djiku with Daniel Amartey in the center of defence, ahead of Joseph Aidoo, and introduced Mubarak Wakaso in the midfield to partner Baba Iddrissu to provide enough cover to the defence.
Jordan Ayew reverted to his arrowhead role as the lead striker, taking over from Richmond Boakye Yiadom.
Percy Tau led South Africa were more possessive, and also came closer to the goal line of Ghana but Djiku and Amartey were resolute.
Ghana was however dealt with a big blow when Kudu Mohammed took an early shower due to injury and his position was taken by Daniel Kyere.
Both teams failed to create any clear-cut chance from open play apart from corner-kicks and free-kicks that came the way of the stars which were utilized especially in the first half.
But the Stars opened the scoring in the 33rd minute through a penalty converted by Andre Ayew, after Daniel Amartey was pushed in the vital area.
Ayew’s penalty took the stars into the dressing room with the needed one-goal advantage after 45 minutes.
On return from recess, both sides continue to create opportunities but failed, but the closest came on the way of Kamaldeen Suleyman in the 78th minute when he took on the defence of South Africa with goalkeeper Ronuwen Williams completely beaten but his kick missed the target narrowly.
South Africa recovered and threw in everything in search of the equalizer but the Ghanaian stood firm and maintained the lone goal lead.
Ghana would be among the ten countries that would slug it out in the play-offs.
Line Up: Jojo Wollacot, Andy Yiadom, Baba Rahman, Alexander Djiku, Daniel Amartey, Baba Iddrisu, Mubarak Wakaso, Andre Ayew, Kudu Mohamed/Daniel Kyere, Jordan Ayew, Kamaldeen Suleman/Richmond Boakye-Yiadom.
Source: Ghana News Agency