Ghana on its way to 2006 World Cup
Kumasi, Sept 4, GNA - Ghana's Black Stars are on their way to the 2006 World Cup when they beat the Cranes of Uganda 2-0 in the penultimate qualifying match at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi on Sunday.
By this victory Ghana leads the Group Two table with 18 points. Michael Essien and Mathew Amoah made victory certain for the Black Stars with two clinical goals in the 10th and 15th minutes of the first half.
The Black Stars started the match on a fast note and earned a free kick in the first minute but wasted it. They continued to pile pressure on the opponents and nearly took the lead in the fifth minute but skipper Stephen Appiah's shot sailed over the bar.
With the heat still on the Ugandans, JoeTex Frimpong missed a chance three minutes later when he also shot off target. The Ghanaians who were determined to win the match to pave the way towards their qualification, had the first corner kick in the 10th minute and the skipper of the side Stephen Appiah sent in a long drive that was expertly headed unto the blind side of the Cranes keeper, Dennis Onyango by Michael Essien.
The early goal gingered up the Stars who continued to probe for more goals and it eventually came in the 15th minute when Mathew Amoah dribbled his way past a host of defenders of the Cranes to shoot into the net to register the second gaol for the Stars.
After the two early goals, Ugandan's coach, Muhamed Abass called his entire players to the touch-line for a pep talk to the surprise of the match officials and this compelled referee J. Riccurrendi of Burundi to caution the coach.
The Cranes came into the picture after conceding the goals and nearly caused a scar when their strikers moved deep into the vital area of the Stars but their attempts at goal were thwarted by the solid defence of the Ghanaians.
Ghana's Laryea Kingston was shown the yellow card in the 32nd minute and two minutes later the Cranes Geofrex Massa nearly scored for his side but fumbled he fumbled in front of goal.
In the 37th minute, Isaac Boakye took over from Frimpong who got injured after he collided with the Ugandan keeper.
On resumption of the second half, the Ugandans came in strongly and multiplied both defence and in attack with the midfield of the Ghanaians totally broken down. They went ahead to pin the Stars to their half but could not translate the chances that came their way into goals.
Sensing danger, coach Ratomir Dujkovic brought on Hamza Mohammed for Laryea Kingston in the 53rd minute while the Ugandans also substituted Geofrex Serunkuma with Martin Muwanja in the 55th minute but it was still the Ugandans who were on top fighting from all angles for at least a consolation goal.
Disaster struck the Ghanaian team when Michael Essien was carried off the field with an injury in the 62nd minute and was replaced by Abubakar Yahuza.
The Black Stars made a last minute effort to increase the tally but substitute Isaac Boakye shot off target.
Line Up: Ghana: Sammy Adjei, Emmanuel Pappoe, John Painstil, Issah Ahmed, John Mensah, Michael Essien/Abubakar Yahuza, Laryea Kingston/Hamza Mohammed, Matthew Amoah, Joe Tex Frimpong/Isaac Boakye, Stephen Appiah and Daniel Edusei.