Ghana commenced their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with a win against Ethiopia on Friday.
The Black Stars played hosts to the Walia Antelopes at the Cape Coast stadium for the group opener in the second round of qualifiers for next year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
It wasn’t a vintage performance by Coach Charles Akonnor’s side with Ghana having Wakaso Mubarak to thank for the victory.
The China-based midfielder’s first half effort spilled through the hands of Ethiopian goalie Teklemariam Shanko into the net.
The Black Stars started the game on the offensive but found it hard to string decent passes upfront. Their dominance was mostly witnessed in the middle and Ghana’s defence as the Ethiopians sat deep and barely made spaces available for exploitation.
As the game proceeded, Ghana’s control of affairs grew stronger and they started to create some opportunities. However none of them was clear cut as the awya side continued to sit deep and leave nothing to chance.
With frustrations building, Ghana resorted to shooting from distance and it was on one of such occasions that the game’s opening goal came.
With 35 minutes gone, Wakaso Mubarak controlled a ball in the middle and unleashed a shot from some few meters within the Zone 14 of Ethiopia’s area.
Initially the ball looked like an easy save for goalkeeper Shanko until he let his guard loose and let the ball slip through his hands underneath him for a goal.
Ethiopia cursed their stars but Ghana cared less as the stadium with a little over 2000 fans erupted in joy.
A furious Ethiopia Coach Webetu Abate subbed off goalkeeper Shanko perhaps as punishment for his gaffe in the first half as the second half commenced.
Both teams came close on quite some occasions to add more goals but none really could make the twined shake as the game grinded to a permanent halt with he score still locked at 1-0 in favor of Ghana.
The result sees Ghana move top of the group after South Africa drew goalless with Zimbabwe earlier. The two occupy the second and third positions while Ethiopia sit bottom in the group.
Ghana will next travel to face South Africa for the second group game on Monday and will hope to avoid defeat to keep their campaign going.
The winner of the various groups will progress to the final stage of qualifying for the World Cup next year.