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09.10.2005 Sports News

Black Stars are there

By GNA
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From: Veronica Commey, GNA Special Correspondent

Praia, Cape Verde, Oct. 9, GNA - Ghana's Black Stars on Saturday sparked a mass jubilation with an emphatic 4-0 drubbing of Cape Verde to end their World Cup qualification on a blistering note. The Stars who needed only a point to seal qualification to their a maiden historic World Cup appearance struck twice in each half in the game hosted at the Praia Stadium in Cape Verde. The Stars who finished on top Group B with 21 points dominated play from the onset and won the admiration of the home crowd with occasional entertainment, which left the partisan crowd with no choice than chant for them.

Sulley Ali Muntari returning from suspension put the Stars ahead before the break with two trade mark goals. The Udinese left footer who remained a handful for the hosts' rear guard unsettled Cape Verde in the fourth minute when he shot the Ghanaians ahead with a deceptive volley that left the host goalkeeper stranded.

The player deceived many who thought he was landing a cross by taking a long drive from the left flank to the roof of the net for the opener.

The hosts managed to settle well after the initial upset, but could not pose any threat to the Stars' defence of John Mensah, Emmanuel Addoquaye Pappoe, John Painstil and Issah Ahmed who looked jittery in the opening minutes. The Ghanaians felt relaxed and tormented the hosts with great telepathic understanding masterminded by Chelsea's Michael Essien. At his best, the midfielder proved why he remains the continent's most expensive player by connecting the midfield with such flexibility forcing his markers to commit frequent fouls.

The Stars broke loose again in the 37th minute with a run, which could easily tell the second goal was on its way.

Muntari once more lobbed a curly one from a pass from exceptional skipper Stephen Appiah with such a cheeky ease underscoring why he remains a toast of Italian fans at Udenise.

The Stars returned from recess without changes in the line up but rather in tactics which ensured that they outclassed the hosts whose huge physical presence posed a great threat in the first half.

When Serbian coach Ratomir Djukovic finally settled on changes, it was to afford another "returnee" Asamoah Gyan another opportunity to prove his worth after a long absence by replacing Muntari.

The 22-year old Modena substitute justified the confidence reposed in him by announcing his presence with the treble.

Gyan atoned for an earlier miss when with only 15 minutes left for play, he danced beyond his marker with a through ball from the edge of the box, and planted it firmly in the next to further solidify the lead. As if it was a day for the substitutes, Godwin Attram replaced Enyimba's Joe Tex Asamoah Frimpong only to add his name to the tally to ensure his first goal in the qualifier.

Attram received a pass just behind the box, dribbled his marker and with composure as his guide and squeezed the ball to the far post to complete the quartet.

With the mission accomplished, coach Djukovic's boys introduced the Ghanaian "agoro" game with simple but entertaining passes, which won the hearts of the fans.

By the result, the Stars finished as group leaders ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Cape Verde.

The Ghanaians won six times, drew four times and lost only once in the qualifier. Line-up

Sammy Adjei, Addoquaye Pappoe, John Painstil, Issah Ahmed, John Mensah, Michael Essein, Laryea Kingston, Sulley Muntari/Asamoah Gyan, Stephen Appiah, Mathew Amoah/Dan Edusei, Joe Tex Frimpong/Godwin Attram.

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