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2023 AFCON Qualifier: 5 things we learned as Ghana beat Central African Republic

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Ghana have secured their spot at the 2023 African Cup of Nations which will be held at Côte d’Ivoire, however, fans are not happy with the team’s on-field performance, especially in the first half of the game.

Despite an uninspiring display by the Black Stars, they managed to secure a 2-1 win over Central Africa Republic at the Baba Yara Stadium on Thursday evening.

The result ensures the Stars finish top of Group E with 12 points and they are joined in qualification for next year’s continental tournament by Angola, who recorded a goalless draw with Madagascar in a concurrent game in Lubango.

CAR took the lead through Louis Mafouta in the 25th minute but goals from Mohammed Kudus and Ernest Appiah saw Chris Hughton’s side come from behind to seal the maximum points.

Here are five major talking points from the game in Kumasi:

Lack of a defensive midfielder

Ghana glaringly lacked a defensive midfielder who could connect passes from the defence to the attack. The Black Stars were obviously missing Thomas Partey, who is well known to be the player for such transitions, but he was forced to miss the game due to injury. Consequently, the team was progressing balls often through our wingers, and chance-creation was very difficult for Ghana until the well-taken free kick by Kudus gave the Stars the equaliser.

No football identity 

Despite having 56% of ball possession, there was no noticeable pattern of play from the home side. The Stars looked unsure of themselves for the majority of the first half. This has been a major issue over the years for Ghana. The team clearly hasn’t yet gotten an identity on the field of play and mostly depends on individual brilliance rather than the team performance to get results in matches.

Poor pressing from the team 

The Black Stars had a poor way of pressing in that none of the players had that sense of urgency. In an attempt to recover lost balls, Ghana failed to press effectively. It appeared that this game was not a crucial game and due to our lack of urgency, our rivals had the advantage of winning 50-50 battles.

Inaki Williams struggles yet again

Inaki Williams fell short of expectations once again. In every game he has played for the Black Stars, the striker has failed to score a goal. Unfortunately, he still does not look used to being played as an arrowhead across the frontline. Inaki plays well from the flanks, causing problems for opponents with his strength and speed as evidenced at Athletic Club. However, his ability to perform well is constrained because the technical staff uses him as a no.9. Playing him in his natural position would bring out his best qualities.

Kudos to Chris Hughton

Credit to coach Hughton for his spot-on substitutions. Bringing in Antoine Semenyo and Ernest Nuamah Appiah changed the game for the Stars. Both players contributed to Ghana’s win with Semenyo laying out a pass for Nuamah to tap-in.

By: Egyir Papa Kwamena

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