Ghana managed to finish top of their group with a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau on Tuesday.
The Black Stars won thanks to an impressive second half performance which was capped with goals from Jordan Ayew and Thomas Partey, the former scoring in the first minute of the second half.
Ghana started the game a bit more energetically than Guinea Bissau as they tried to get an early goal to calm nerves, but they held their own in the early minutes giving little room for the Black Stars to hurt them. The African Wild Dogs exhibited a few threats coming close in the first quarter of an hour when Mama Balde robbed Thomas Partey off the ball and bore down on goal but Joseph Aidoo making his first appearance of the tournament was on hand to time his last ditch tackle perfectly.
The Black Stars seemed to be gaining the upper hand as they put some pressure on, threatening mostly from the left as Baba Rahman caused the Guinea Bissau defence some discomfort with his crossing. Guinea Bissau turned the tide in the 17th minute, however, when a long ball to release pressure ended up at the feet of Piqueti who hit a dangerous ball from distance which seemed destined for the back of the net before Richard Ofori palmed it onto the crossbar. This sparked a period of dominance for Guinea Bissau who threatened for the next few minutes to break the deadlock.
Ghana regained their composure, however, regaining control and almost breaking the deadlock in the 36th minute. Mubarak Wakaso’s long ball found the run of Jordan Ayew and the forward had time and space as he waited for the ball to settle before hitting it across the keeper but the far post came to Guinea Bissau’s rescue, the rebound fell to brother Andre Ayew but his shot cannoned into a defender and went wide. Ghana kept the pressure on as the half drew to a close with Kwabena Owusu heading wide in the 42nd minute from a lofted ball from Samuel Owusu before Andre Ayew and Partey both drew saves from Mendes with efforts from just outside the box before a dangerous cut back from S. Owusu missed everyone to the relief of Guinea Bissau who managed to hold on to parity to close off the half.
The second half started as Ghana had hope for as they finally broke the deadlock with the first attack of the half, a ball down the wing found Jordan Ayew who managed to beat his marker before bending the ball round Jonas Mendes into the far side. Guinea Bissau almost equalized a few minutes later as good build up play led to a Joseph Mendes shot from just outside the box which beat Richard Ofori but only found the foot of the post to the anguish of Guinea Bissau. Ghana however were more controlled and continued to threaten through Partey, whose shot stung Mendes’ palms, John Boye, who headed wide from a corner and Andre Ayew whose touch on Mubarak Wakaso’s free kick wasn’t enough to get the ball on target.
Guinea Bissau showed their threat again in the 62nd minute as Mamadou Canz tested Richard Ofori’s reflexes with a free kick from distance before the goalkeeper was given a scare from the resulting corner as the ball curled onto his crossbar as he tried to tip it over. Ghana got their second goal in the 6 as Baba Rahman run on to a good through ball from A. Ayew before squaring for Partey to tap home for his first goal of the tournament. The goal seemed to spur the Black Stars on and they seemed the likeliest to score again, Jonas Mendes having to tip J. Ayew’s shot onto the post to prevent the Ghanaians from getting a third but they couldn’t get anything of their own as Ghana won the game 2-0.
Holding on to win the game by two goals saw the Ghanaians finish top of the group thanks to a goalless draw between Cameroon and Benin which saw them edge the Cameroonians on goals scored. The Ghanaians will be boosted by their top spot as they’ve not really gotten themselves going in the early stages of the tournament.
By Joshua Ansah, Daily Mail GH