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Monday, September 7, 2009

Black Stars qualify for South Africa 2010

Ghana’s Black Stars eased into the finals of the World Cup in South Africa after beating the Desert Hawks of Sudan by 2:0.
The Stars thus become the first African country, apart from host South Africa to qualify for South Africa 2010 with two more games to spare.
The Black Stars, playing rather comfortably in front of a capacity crowd at the Ohene Djan Stadium in Accra, also have Benin to thank for the early qualification as the Squirrels held would be contenders, Mali, to a one-all game in Cotonou.
At the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, a blistering Michael Essien strike in the second half sealed a Sulley Muntari opener to clip the wings of the Desert Hawks, who played without much fire power and appeared to have given up the game before Egyptian referee Essam Abd El Fatah called the match into play.
The Stars now open a seven point lead ahead of the two matches, sealing a second successive qualification for the World Cup.
Deploying a 4-4-1-1 formation with returnee skipper, Stephen Appiah playing just behind striker Mathew Amoah, the Stars dominated play for most part of the game and left the Sudanese chasing their shadows.Right from the blast of Essam Abd El Fatah's whistle the Stars pounded the goal area of the Sudanese, with Skipper Stephen Appiah stretching to his elastic limit in a belated attempt to connect a deep cross from Sulley Muntari.
Essien who latched onto a feeble back pass, should have put the stars ahead, but after beating the last of the Sudanese defenders, he shot straight at the approaching goalkeeper.The Stars clearly dictated the pace with deft touches and superb runs on the right by Samuel Inkoom but failed to create any clear goal scoring opportunity.S
ulley Ali Muntari in the 15th minute latched onto a Stephen Appiah pass and blasted the ball beyond the Sudan goalkeeper for the Stars opener.The Sudanese barely threatened the Stars goal, and that was understandable. They had packed men in defence looking to get back home with a respectable defeat.Stephen Appiah then struck yet another thunderbolt of a shot in the 35th minute but went direct into the arms of the Sudanese goalkeeper.
The Stars played to the gallery with some neat touches, flashes of individual brilliance from Essien, Appiah, Inkoom and Muntari but the resilient Sudan rear guard thwarted their efforts at another goal.Michael Essien on the stroke of half time had a second goal ruled out for offside after he connected a Sulley Muntari free-kick, reminiscent of the goal he (Essien) scored against Morocco in the 2008 Nation’s Cup in Accra.
The Sudanese started the second half pretty much the same way they ended the first, sitting back to soaking the pressure and trying to catch the Stars on the break. They however had no potent strike force to execute the tactics to perfection.Michael Essien in a typical fashion struck an absolute screamer in the 57th minute from 25 yards which zoomed straight into the net for the Stars' second goal.John Mensah who had virtually been on holiday handed the Sudanese a breather when he gifted a Sudanese striker a golden opportunity, but goalkeeper Richard Kingston parried a well struck, goal-bound shot into play for his defence to clear.The Stars with nothing more to play for slowed down the tempo of the game, teasing the Sudanese with some short passes but never attacked the Sudanese goal.

Live Updates

Michael Essien is carried high by his colleagues

16:45 The Black Stars and their Sudanese counterparts file onto the pitch ready for the national anthems.
16:53 The vice president, John Mahama spotted in his Black Stars attire and other dignitaries inspect the line-up of the two teams.16:56
The National Anthem of the Sudan is played16:57 There is thunderous applause from fans as the Ghana National Anthem is played. 17:00 Sudan get the game underway.17:03 Stephen Appiah's head missed a Sulley Muntari free kick in what could easily have been the Stars' opener.17:05 Samuel Inkoom makes a terrific run, beats two Sudanese players but is hacked down just at the threshhold of the 18 yard box for a free kick
.17:06 Sulley Muntari takes the free kick which flew dangerously pass the Sudanese goal missing many Ghanaian heads.17:07 Essien capitalised on a defensive blunder, beats two men on the row but his final touch lets him down as the Sudanese goalkeeper comes in to save the situation.17:13 It is a one way traffic as the Stars keep pounding the goal area of the Sudanese. 17:14 Richard Kingston's blunder nearly caused the Stars after he failed to trap a pass with the ball dangerously rolling close to his own goal.
17;15 Sulley Ali Muntari shoots the Stars ahead after he tipped the ball beyond the reach of the approaching goal keeper.17:18 It is still the Black Stars dictating the pace, trying to tease the Sudanese from their goal line with some deft touches from Essien, Inkoom, Appiah and Muntari.17:21 The Sudanese have been left chasing their shadows as the Stars draw rings around their markers.
17:26 Anthony Annan and Mathew Amoah combines well but the strikers final ball to skipper Appiah is intercepted.17:29 The Sudanese have barely tested the goal keeper Richard Kingston 17:35 Skipper Stephen Appiah once again latched onto another defensive blunder and fired a blistering shot which was parried by the goal keeper for a corner.
17:36 Corner kick taken by Sulley Muntari but headed to safety by the Sudanese.
17:38 Sudan finally makes an incursion but the final pass in front goal was intercepted by Annan.17:39 Samuel Inkoom after combining well with Essien fired a thunderbolt of a shot which whisked just wide.17:41 The Sudanese may not be good in attack but have tidied well in defence after conceding the first goal.17:44 Essien's goal after connecting a Sulley Muntari free-kick was flagged offside.17:48 Referee Essam Abd El Fatah brings the first half to an end.18:04 Players file onto the pitch for the start of the second half.
18:05 Stars begin second half and moves straight into attack but Inkoom deep cross from the right goes into the waiting arms of the Sudanese goal keeper.18:06 Appiah becomes the second player to get booked after a rough challenge on a Sudanese player.18:08 The Stars begin the same way they ended the first half with swift attacks at the Sudanese goal.
18:09 Sulley Muntari sets Essien but he selflessly heads it down for Appiah to strike but the ball was cut out.18:12 Essien increases the tally for the Black Stars after an absolute screamer form 25 yards.18:15 Richard Kingston denied the Sudanese their real and only threat at goal, after he parried an excellent curly shot from the Sudanese striker.18:18 Appiah turns his marker inside out and sets Inkoom on the left whose cross was well connected by Essien but went just wide.18:22 Sudan striker fires a speculative shot from 40 yards but goes way out of touch. 18:27 Sulley sets Mathew Amoah but his final strike flew pass the goal post.
18:33 Laryea Kingston comes on for Stephen Appiah and the crowd bursts into rapturous applause 18:44 Essien fires a feeble shot into the waiting arms of the goalkeeper aftr combining well with Sulley on the left hand side of attack.
18:46 Asamoah Gyan comes on for Mathew Amoah who was lost for most part of the game due to inadequate service from his colleagues.18:52 Referee Essam Abd El Fatah brings game to a close drawing tumultuous cheers and jubilations from fans knowing too well Ghana has qualified for the World Cup for the second time running.


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