Ghana beats Malawi 2-0 in AFCON qualifier

Black Stars of Ghana gave their dream of making an appearance at the next African Cup of Nations in South Africa a major boost after dousing the Flames of Malawi 2-0 in the first leg of the last qualifier played at the Accra Sports Stadium on Saturday.

A goal in each half from Christian Atsu and Anthony Annan gave the Stars the start they required ahead of the return fixture scheduled for Blantyre next month.

The Stars playing at the national stadium for the first time in as many years, began business slowly with an output that saw the team conceding the midfield where Anthony Annan playing as the only defensive midfielder, laboured to stamp his authority.

It was a fairy-tale performance that had seen captain of the day, Asamoah Gyan playing his first game after calling off his international exile as he missed an early opportunity after he profited from a poor judgment from the visitor’s goalkeeper who was already compromised.

But lacking ideas, Gyan who had the ball under control shot back to play to gift the Flames the opportunity to defend and get off the hook. The goal had looked to be coming from then and soon it had to be from player of the moment, Christain Atsu who cheekily delivered it only after seven minutes on.

Atsu who enjoyed an amazing spell where he kept his markers busy the entire duration joined a sweet build up that was began by Gyan  involving Andre Ayew to sweep on past goalkeeper Simplex Nthala to set the almost filled to capacity Stadium agog.

Down by a goal, the Malawians never relented as they made sure the Black Stars had more cause to worry. On 35 minutes, keeper Kwarasey was to Ghana’s rescue with a fine save of a goal bound shot from Moses Chavula.

Back from recess, the Stars exhibited signs of reclaiming the midfield but it was only after the introduction of Derek Boateng that the game tilted their favour.

Against the run of play, Annan volleyed in the second goal on 52 minutes with a power-laden surprise effort that zoomed past the Malawian keeper into the right corner of the net.

Few minutes after the goal, Jordan Ayew who had an unusual quite afternoon was replaced by Boateng, whose presence then made the Stars midfield click as Kwadwo Asamoah moved upfront.

Atsu, no doubt the man-of-the-match, dribbled his way through the Malawian defence on 67 minutes but his final delivery missed  target narrowly.

Eight minutes from time, the Flames suffered a numerical blow as James Sangala was sent off for a second yellow card after fouling Asamoah at the edge of the penalty area. To the dismay of all, Gyan blasted wide from the resultant free-kick.

The Malawians threatened the Ghana back-line in the closing stages of the game, but the much needed consolation remained elusive till the final whistle to cushion Ghana for the next leg.

The second leg will take place in Blantyre on the weekend of 12-14 October, 2012.

Source: GNA

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