Kumasi, Sept 5, GNA - A 23rd minute penalty goal converted by Michael Essien and an own goal by Jose Barros in the 65th minute gave Ghana a 2-0 win over Cape Verde in a World Cup qualifying match at the Kumasi Sports stadium on Sunday. A defender of Cape Verde brought down Asamoah Gyan in the penalty box when the striker was in a good position to score and Libyan referee, Tamuni Wahid who was near the scene whistled for a penalty. Michael Essien converted the kick for Ghana's first goal while the second goal was as a result of a back pass to goalkeeper Jose Da Veiga failed to clear allowing the ball to roll into his net. In spite of chalking the 2-0 win, the Black Stars left a sour taste in the mouths of the soccer enthusiasts with their not too impressive performance. The performance of the team has left question marks in the minds of the supporters as to their ability of qualifying for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. It was Cape Verde who nearly caused havoc in the second minute of the game when they launched straight into attack and had the defence of the Stars reeling back but Arlindo Gomes Semdo's shot went off target. The Stars took over and came close to scoring but Essien's header hit the cross bar and bounced back into play in the sixth minute. Sensing danger, the Cape Verde team parked their defence thereby making it very difficult for the attackers of the Stars to penetrate and the occasionally counter attackedwith Carlos Tlonis shooting over the bar in the 16th minute to the relief of the home team.
Let off the hook, Ghana carried the game to their opponents and in the 19th minute, they nearly took the lead when Nelson Da Veiga's back pass to his goalkeeper beat him but he managed to clear the ball off the goal line.
The Stars kept on pressing for the leader and it eventually came their way in the 23rd minute through the spot kick expertly taken by Essien. The second half saw Cape Verde forcing Ghana into their own half and Coach Barreto substituted Hamza Mohammed for Tanko Ibrahim in the 53rd minute and Amankwaa Mireku for injured Kofi Amponsah in the 64th minute. The changes paid off for the Stars as it brought some vim into the performance forcing Cape Verde to fall back to defend and in an attempt to send the ball to goalkeeper Jose Da Veiga, defender Barros rather scored an own goal. Ghana sent in Kojo Poku for Baffour Gyan in the 69th minute while Cape Verde also substituted Mateus Lopes for Jimmy Modeste in the 73rd minute. Cape Verde mounted last minute onslaught on the home team but they could not reduce the tally till the referee brought the day's proceedings to an end. Elsewhere in Group Four, South African's hopes of qualifying for Germany were dealt a blow after they suffered their second Group defeat, this time at the hands of DR Congo. The game had been set to finish goalless until Kabamba Musasa popped up with just three minutes remaining to pinch a priceless 1-0 win.
See Table Line Up: Sammy Adjei Kofi Amponsah/Mireku, Addoquaye Pappoe , Osei Kuffour (captain) , John Mensah Michael Essien, Mark Edusei, Baffour Gyan, Ibrahim Tanko William Tierro Asamoah Gyan/Poku
P W D L GF GA Pts Ghana 4 2 1 1 6 2 7 DR Congo 4 2 1 1 5 4 7 Burkina Faso 4 2 0 2 5 5 6 South Africa 4 2 0 2 4 5 6 Cape Verde 4 1 1 2 3 5 4 Uganda 4 1 1 2 2 4 4 Fixtures: 2004 June 5: South Africa 2-1 Cape Verde; Burkina Faso 1-0 Ghana
June 6: Uganda 1-0 DR Congo June 19: Cape Verde 1-0 Uganda
June 20: Ghana 3-0 South Africa; DR Congo 3-2 Burkina Faso July 3: South Africa 2-0 Burkina Faso; Uganda 1-1 Ghana; Cape Verde 1-1 DR Congo September 4: Burkina Faso 2-0 Uganda
September 5: Ghana 2-0 Cape Verde; DR Congo 1-0 South Africa October 9: Uganda v South Africa
October 10: Ghana v DR Congo; Cape Verde v Burkina Faso 2005 March 26: South Africa v Uganda; Burkina Faso v Cape Verde
March 27: DR Congo v Ghana; June 5: Ghana v Burkina Faso; DR Congo v Uganda; Cape Verde v South Africa June 18: South Africa v Ghana; Uganda v Cape Verde; Burkina Faso v DR Congo September 3: Burkina Faso v South Africa
September 4: Ghana v Uganda; DR Congo v Cape Verde October 8: South Africa v DR Congo; Uganda v Burkina Faso
October 9: Cape Verde v Ghana