In a surprising turn of events on the road, Ghana faced an unexpected upset from Comoros as a brilliant first-half strike by Myziane Maolida secured a 1-0 victory for the Southern African side.
Ghana’s coach, Chris Hughton, implemented three key changes to the lineup that started in the opening World Cup qualifying game against Madagascar the previous Friday. Kassim Nuhu Adams, Denis Odoi, and Andre Ayew were brought in to replace Daniel Amartey, Alidu Seidu, and the injured Mohammed Kudus, respectively.
Kudus, nursing a back injury, was left on the bench despite his previous absence from the team’s training session. Hughton, displaying confidence, maintained Richard Ofori as the goalkeeper, with Gideon Mensah and Nicholas Opoku forming the defensive quartet.
Jordan Ayew retained his position on the left flank, with the match-winner against Madagascar, Inaki Williams, operating from the right. Captain Andre Ayew made a return to the starting lineup after months, taking on the no.10 role in the absence of the injured Kudus. Antoine Semenyo led the line as the main striker, with the Black Stars aiming for their second win in two World Cup qualifying matches.
Despite Comoros making a bright start with more possession, Ghana created the first notable opening after six minutes. Williams played Semenyo through on goal, but the Bournemouth striker failed to convert the one-on-one opportunity, sending his shot into the side net.
In the first half, Ofori made crucial saves, denying Selemani’s shot and tipping Bourhane’s goal-bound effort for a corner. Ghana squandered another chance when Williams found Jordan Ayew with a precise cross, but the Crystal Palace forward couldn’t direct his header towards the goal.
Ghana’s poor defending three minutes before half-time proved costly when Maolida skillfully weaved past Ghana’s backline to score against the run of play.
At the start of the second half, Hughton brought on Kudus for Andre Ayew, and later, Ernest Nuamah and Majeed Ashimeru joined the fray. Despite these changes, Ghana struggled to create clear-cut chances. Nuamah, in particular, was unlucky not to equalize, with his goal ruled out by the referee, despite appearing to cleanly win an aerial challenge against the Comoros goalkeeper.
In the final 15 minutes, despite pushing more men forward, Ghana couldn’t break Comoros’s resilience, resulting in a famous victory for Comoros – their second successive win over the Black Stars after the last AFCON.
The Coelacanths now sit atop Group I in the Africa World Cup qualifiers with six points, while Ghana finds itself in fourth place after the disappointing defeat on Tuesday. The unexpected loss serves as a wake-up call for Ghana as they reassess their strategy moving forward in the World Cup campaign.