Partey hits hat trick in Black Stars’ 5-1 away win

Thomas Partey scored 3 in the six-goal thriller

Thomas Partey hit a hat trick while Richmond Boakye Yiadom got a brace on Tuesday when the Black Stars beat Congo 5-1 in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier.

The result of the match, which was played at the Stade Municipal de Kintele in Brazzaville, is Ghana’s first win in the qualifying campaign.

It also lifts the Stars’ hopes of making a fourth successive appearance at the world cup.

It started with the Red Devils continuing where they left off in Kumasi last Friday as the likes of Thievy Bifouma knocked hard on Ghana’s goal.

But goalkeeper Richard Ofori appeared to be more agile than ever before as he rose to the occasion several times.

His efforts to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net may have goaded the outfield players to action as Ghana opened the score in the 20th minute against the run of play.

Thomas Agyepong’s shot into the Congo defence found the legs of Partey, whose left foot swept the ball to Yiadom.

The Red Star Belgrade striker made no mistake as he buried the ball into Barel Houko’s net.

Three minutes later Christian Atsu’s dashing run found a well-positioned Yiadom, whose shot ricocheted off the Congolese defence to Partey, who got his first goal of the game.

Albeit disappointed, the Central Africans picked up the pieces and their prying incursions into the Stars’ half won them set pieces in quick succession.

Maritzburg’s Ofori parried a freekick over the goal line for a corner kick, which was judiciously made use of by the hosts.

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Ukraine-based Vladis-Emmerson Illoy-Ayyet rose higher than his marker, Afriyie Acquah, to reduce the deficit.

But jubilation for Sebastien Migne’s men was short-lived as Atsu again found Partey, who squeezed the ball inside an acute angle into the roof of Houko’s net.

It was joy for the Stars at the break given the sloppy 1-1 home draw last Friday. There had been five changes to the starting line-up by coach James Kwesi Appiah.

The 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists came back from the break with their strategy well relayed by Kwesi Appiah in the dressing room.

They contained an aggressively attacking Red Devils side only for a defensive blunder to gift Partey the ball in the 69th minute.

The composure of the Atletico Madrid midfielder in his dashing run to score made him pass a test many strikers would have failed.

He scored to record his hat trick on the day and his fourth goal in two matches for the Stars.

Stand-in captain Harrison Afful made an excellent replacement for Joseph Larweh Attamah in the starting line-up as he made numerous dashing runs into the opponents’ penalty area.

One of them in the 83rd minute found Yiadom, who made no mistake to beat a spiritless Congo defence for Ghana’s fifth goal.

Tuesday’s away win puts Ghana back in contention for qualification for Russia 2018 as Egypt host leaders Uganda later in Group E.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana