Ghana/Central African Republic: CAR Hold Black Stars

The Black Stars of Ghana maintained their top position on the AFCON 2023 qualifying Group E table despite sharing the spoils with Central African Republic (CAR) in their match day two game played in Angola, yesterday.

They share the position on four points with Angola after also playing a 1-1 draw encounter against Madagascar, yesterday.

Coach Otto Addo’s heavily altered selection left tongues wagging as seven players from the first game against Madagascar were benched with the likes of Lawrence Ati-Zigi, Andy Yiadom, Jonathan Mensah, Daniel Kofi Kyereh, Edmund Addo, Joseph Paintsil and Osman Bukari receiving the nod to prove themselves.

Against a physically endowed CAR, the Stars struggled to establish their dominance but from nothing, Mohammed Kudus bent in beautifully to give the Ghanaians the lead in the 18th minute.

That set the tone for the Stars’ dominance but a brief lack of concentration in the middle saw the Ghanaians surrender possession to the ‘Republicans’ who countered a stretched Ghana defence with a decent pass that was initially controlled by KarlNamnganda before shooting past onrushing Ghana goalkeeper, Ati-Zigi for the equalizer.

Despite the changes, Ghana appeared the most aggressive side, dictating the pace of the game but always found it difficult to penetrate the CAR numbers at the back.

On the few occasions they threatened, the final deliveries were either cleared to touch or lacked precision.

With every space covered, it was difficult for the Ghanaian speedsters, Afena Gyan and Paintsil to dash for the passes, most of which came from Edmund Addo and Daniel Kofi Kyereh.

That notwithstanding, the Ghanaians found their way past the defence as Kudus intercepted a pass; advertised a pass but moved a step forward to curl a low shot to the bottom right corner of the CAR goalkeeper into the net for a welcome lead.

Ghana went forward again with some nice inter-positional play but the final delivery from Gideon Mensah missed the target as the Stars become lively.

But the host smashed home what appeared to be their second shot on target when they capitalized on a mix-up; set up Karl Namnganda who controlled between two Stars markers before shooting perfectly to beat Ati-Zigi for an equalizer.

CAR threatened first in the second half but a Thibault Ban’s shot missed the target.

Ghana dominated the rest of the exchanges but surprisingly failed to record any decent shot at goal to share the points.

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