Ghana 3-1 Sao Tome and Principe: Black Stars end CAN 2021 qualifiers in style
Hosts proved too strong for the Falcons in their final Group C game at Accra Sports Stadium
Ghana ended their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on a high note with a 3-1 home win over Sao Tome and Principe in their final game on Sunday.
Nicholas Opoku and Abdul Rahman Baba each scored their first goals for the Black Stars, adding to a penalty from Jordan Ayew, as the home side won all three points in the Group C match at Accra Sports Stadium . Iniesta scored the visitors’ consolation goal.
The West Africans finished third in the standings to reserve their 23rd qualification for the continental tournament to be held in Cameroon, one point ahead of Sudan who beat South Africa 2-0 on Sunday to finish second in the standings to claim the other available ticket.
Ghana entered the game having already booked their qualification for the tournament after Thursday’s 1-1 draw against South Africa, but that didn’t stop coach CK Akonnor from fielding a solid eleven .
Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey, Swansea striker Andre Ayew and Crystal Palace striker Jordan have been restored to the roster after missing the trip to South Africa due to travel issues from Covid- 19.
Italian duo Caleb Ekuban and Emmanuel Gyasi, as well as Asante striker Kotoko Kwame Opoku, were sacrificed for the England-based trio.
Veteran forward Luis Leal, who plays club football for Mexico’s Sol de America team, led the lines for Sao Tome, who had absolutely no chance of qualifying regardless of the score in Accra.
Ghana started off strong, building up the pressure, but it was the visitors who ironically got the first big chance as a shot crossing the face of the goal went imploringly past without a connection.
Leal then followed up a minute later with a long-range free kick that narrowly missed the mark.
In the 12th minute, Ghana opened the scoring thanks to center-back Amiens Opoku, who rose high to lead Mohammed Kudus’ corner into the net.
Four minutes later, Jordan saw a penalty ignored by the referee after he descended into the box under a challenge from Vava Pequeno.
Baba and Partey had close range chances to double Ghana’s lead, but the former hit their shot into the side net while the latter saw their shot on goal blocked by a defender.
Ghana finally made it 2-0 in the 31st minute after Jordan, having grabbed a deep ball from Kudus and falling, got up and coldly put the shot into the net.
Moments later, Opoku almost found his second goal of the day in another corner, but his header this time went over the bar.
With five minutes to go, Kudus broke the left after dispossessing Jardel Nazare but his last shot was saved by goalkeeper Aldair D’Almeida.
After the break, Wakaso repelled a shot from outside the box, before substitute Gladson Awako, who entered at half-time for Bukari, managed to lead a volley from inside the box to the target after to have been selected by Andre at the bottom left.
At the opposite end, Leal tried his luck with a long-range free kick in the 58th minute, but his shot took off.
On the hour mark, Ghana found the third goal as Chelsea player Baba netted a point blank shot into the net after Kudus pushed his way into the box to set everything in place .
In the 83rd minute, Sao Tome struck out a goal as goalkeeper Razak Abalora, in an attempt to play from behind, saw his ball intercepted by substitute Iniesta, who slipped into an empty net to punish the nonchalant Asante Kotoko n ° 1.
Ghana could have restored their three-goal lead a minute later, but ex-Bayern Munich striker Kwasi Okyere Wriedt, a substitute, failed to keep his cool after going head-to-head with the goalkeeper, his effort going far.
At this point, the visitors got more into the game but failed to get any sharper openings to cause more harm.
Ghana, however, saw Andre and Wriedt seek a fourth goal in added time, with their failure quickly followed by the final whistle.