Ghana sink Harambee Stars to top Group F
Published on: March 23, 2019 11:44 (EAT)
Substitute Caleb Ekuban made a dream debut for Ghana as he scored late on to lift his country to a 1-0 victory over Kenya to ensure they finished their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign as the group leaders. Kenya put up a solid defensive performance at the Accra Sports Stadium but their resistance was finally broken in the 83rd minute when Ekuban’s effort slipped through goalkeeper Patrick Matasi’s hands into the back of the net. The Harambee Stars will nonetheless be on the plane to the AFCON Finals in Egypt in June as both tickets from Pool F were already secured with Ethiopia mathematically unable finish inside the top two places. Ghana showed their intent early on with Christian Atsu cutting in from the left to a dangerous position but the Newcastle winger lost his footing and the ball hooked away. The hosts were awarded a free-kick moments later at the edge of the area after Joash Onyango was adjudged to have fouled Jordan Ayew with Matasi doing exceptionally well to deny Atsu’s attempt. Atsu was causing all sorts of trouble for the visitors and the winger had a cross initially aimed at Andre Ayew fall into the path of Thomas Partey but the Atletico Madrid midfielder lashed it off target with a first time hit. The Black Stars were finally able to put the ball in the back of the net after Ayew scrambled home from a rebound but it was cancelled for a foul on Matasi. Masoud Juma won a ball in the Ghanaian third but it was recovered before he could pull the trigger and there was time for Emmanuel Boateng to threaten from a header as both sides went to the break deadlocked at 0-0. Black Stars keeper Richard Ofori had to be alert to palm away a brilliant effort from Masoud two minutes after the restart. Ghana broke the deadlock with seven minutes left on the clock when Ebukan’s shot from a tight angle somehow squirmed through Matasi’s gloves.