Story: Sports Desk
The Black Stars were held to a goalless draw against Madagascar in their penultimate game of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on Sunday, June 18.
In a game many were expecting the team to sparkle, there were no inspiration and no life in what seemed to be a dead attack despite controlling the tempo of the fixture.
The Black Stars saw the majority of the ball in the opening stages of the game but failed to advance in the opposition’s box.
Ghana’s first shot at goal came in the 18th minute falling to Kamaldeen Sulemana but his effort to curl the ball into the far post went just wide.
From there came more opportunities for Chris Hughton’s men. Joseph Paintsil’s strike from outside the box went well over the crossbar after 24 minutes.
Despite being presented with so many set pieces in the opening half of the game, Ghana did very little to make the advantages count.
The first half ended with no goals recorded while neither of the teams was able to hit a shot on target.
Thomas Partey came close after the recess with his 55th-minute well-taken free-kick being parried away by the Madagascar goalkeeper.
Minutes after coming on, Mohammed Kudus looked to be going for the spectacular but just like the previous efforts, his strike also went over the bar.
It took the 86th minute to register the first shot on target with Madagascar recording both in the space of a minute.
Ibrahim Amada’s effort was saved by Lawrence Ati-Zigi before the resulting effort from the corner kick went into the hands of the St. Gallen shot-stopper.
Ghana’s shots on target came from Osman Bukari and Partey but were far from threatening the host with the game ending with no goal.
The result means Ghana maintains the one-point lead at the top of Group E following Angola’s 2-1 win over Central African Republic (CAR) on Saturday, June 17.
The Black Stars will face CAR in their last game of the qualifying series in September looking to book a slot at the AFCON to be staged in Ivory Coast next year.