Ghana sails through to quarter finals
Luanda, Angola, Jan. 19, GNA - The Black Stars of Ghana sailed through to the quarter finals of the 27th Edition of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola when they chalked a lone goal victory over Burkina Faso at the 11th November National Stadium in Southern Luanda on Tuesday.
With the victory, the Stars have thus set a date with host nation Angola at the same venue on Sunday, January 25 in an encounter that is expected to keep the capital packed with traffic and bring activities to a standstill.
The victory was, however, not an impressive performance from the Stars, who played without midfield engine Michael Essien, but they still managed to grab the much needed goal from a header from Andre Dede Ayew to pick the second position on the table for progress into the next stage.
It was Burkina Faso who had the first opportunity in the 8th minute when Jonathan Pitriopa made an entry into the Ghana defence that created a melee but they failed to make use of the situation with keeper Richard Kingson coming out to the rescue.
With Ghana in search of a win to ensure progress whilst Burkina Faso, just needed a draw, the northern neighbours were more relaxed in their approach towards the game, as they took their time to string passes together.
In spite of their lacklustre approach they still managed to dominate the midfield, in the game that saw the Stars coming into the game with four new faces after the first defeat against the Elephants of Cote D'Ivoire as they again lacked the needed urgency in their game to make any meaningful impact.
It is a fact that the four new additions as at the close of the first 30 minutes failed to make any significant impact in the game with the first quarter not seeing the Ghanaians create any clear cut chance on the day as all efforts could hardly penetrate the defence of the Burkina's.
Even though they seemed to enjoy possessions, the Burkinabe's were not in a hurry to score but ensured their dominance at least in the first 25 minutes and this could be attributed to a leakage in Stars midfield as the combination of Badu, Ayew and Asamoah did not gel.
Ghana, however, managed to break the deadlock in the 30th minute when Andre Ayew's glancing header from a Samuel Inkoom free kick cross bounced into the net after their opponents had subjected them to intense pressure.
The goal thence marked the revival of the Stars with a gradual reorganization of all departments of the game, even though their exploits received fierce opposition from Burkina Faso, with an opportunity falling the path of Kone Issouf in the dying minutes of the first half, but he failed to convert to draw level.
A more improved performance from the Black Stars in the second half saw two near misses from Mathew Amoah in just under one minute in the half and nine minutes later after receiving perfect supplies from Asamoah Gyan and Haminu Dramani.
The performance was only sustained for 15 minutes in the second half, as Burkina Faso took control of the game and subjected the Stars to intensed pressure creating series of chances which went wastedwith Habib Pamogo, Petriop and Issouf as the culprits.
Disaster then struck the Burkinabe team when Tall Hamadou was given a red card for elbowing Gyan in the 60th minute to present the Stars with an opportunity to increase the tally but this did not materialize as Burkina Faso maintained their rhythm with the Stars wasting a couple of chances.
Dramani in the 75th minute was gifted a golden opportunity to add up to the score line but to the surprise of all he blasted it off and from that stage they continued to pile pressure on their opponents in search of an insurance goal.
With the presence of Under-20 champion, Dominic Adiyiah, who came on for Amoah, the Stars occasionally mounted pressure on the Burkinabe's for a second goal as the numerical advantageon them begun to have a toll on their output for some time.
The Stars, however, managed to jealously guard their lone goal lead till the close of proceedings to secure their quarter final ticket.
Ghana : Richard Kingson, Samuel Inkoon, Hans Adu Sarpei, Lee Arday, Isaac Vorsah, Agyeman Badu, Asamoah Gyan/Rahim Ayew, Kwadwo Asamoah, Haminu Dramani/Opoku Agyeman, Mathew Amoah/Dominic Adiyiah, Dede Ayew
Burkina Faso : Daouda Diakite, Kone Bakary, Koulibally Paul\Kofi Mohamed, Panandetuiguiri Mady, Tall Hamadou, Kere Mahamoudou, Charles Kabore/Benjamin Balima, Pitraipa Jonathan, Rounamba Florent, Bamogo Habib/Moumouni Dagano , Kone Yussif
From: William Ezah, GNA Special Correspondent in Luanda, Angola, courtesy Ministry of Youth and Sports