Debutant Caleb Ansah Ekuban was the hero of the day as his remarkable 83rd minute strike earned Ghana a 1-0 victory over Kenya in their final Group F AFCON qualifier played at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday.
The Ghanaians now lead the group table with nine points followed by the Kenyans with seven. Ethiopia follows with just a point while Sierra Leone are trailing with no point at all.
A well organised Kenya side held the Black Stars to a knife’s edge despite Ghana starting the game by pegging the Kenyans in their own half with Andre Ayew and Christian Atsu stretching the game wide to the flanks, reports footballmadeinghana.com
The first chance of the game fell to Kenyan skipper Victor Wanyama in the fourth minute but after going past his marker, the Spurs enforcer fired a grounder which was punched away by Richard Ofori.
Christian Atsu was released beautifully in the 15th minute and seeing goalkeeper Patrick Matasi off his line, Atsu tried an audacious chip from 50 yards but the keeper run back to tip the ball over the post.
Ghana had another chance to open the scoring by Atsu’s drive from the left flank flashed across the phase of goal in the 20th minute.
Daniel Opare broke down on the left wing in the 34th minute and delivered a tailor-measured cross which was headed by Andre Ayew, Patrick Matasi saved the initial effort but Andre poked the rebound into the net.
The goal was disallowed as referee Joshua Bondo insisted the Ghana skipper had fouled the keeper.
Ghana’s dangerman Christian Atsu went on a solo run on the left flank in the 42nd minute but after going last three Kenyan players, his strike was blocked by David Odhiambo.
Ghana had a freekick on the stroke of half time but Emmanuel Boateng’s header from Mubarak Wakaso’s delivery was saved by Matasi.
Kenya nearly took the lead just after the break as Francis Kahata tried to beat Richard Ofori but his powerful strike was saved by Ofori.
Coach Kwesi Appiah brought on Caleb Ekuban for Emmanuel Boateng to add more bite to his attack in the 60th minute.
John Boye nearly gifted the Kenyans a goal as he was stripped off the ball by Johanna Omollo but the striker’s effort was saved by Ofori.
The Kenyans remained resolute in the middle and at the back as they thwarted all the the attacks of the Black Stars.
Kwasi Appiah threw his second card in the game bringing on Al Jazira winger Ernest Asante for Jordan Ayew.
Asante switched immediately to the right leaving Caleb Ekuban as the lone ranger up front.
Caleb Ekuban turned his marker inside out and hit a superb drive to the right corner for the first goal in the 83rd minute.
Skipper Andre Ayew made way for Alfred Duncan in the 85th minute as Kwesi Appiah sought to stabilize his midfield.
Ghana held on to the one goal lead till the end despite the East Africans late push for a goal.