Ghana 4-3 Central African Republic: Five things we learned

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Ghana secured a dramatic 4-3 victory over the Central African Republic on Monday at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, thanks to a hat-trick from Jordan Ayew.

The win keeps the Black Stars in a strong position to qualify for the World Cup.

In the first half, Ayew opened the scoring from the penalty spot, but lapses in concentration allowed the visitors to score twice and take a shock lead. Boos echoed around the stadium as Ghana went into the break trailing.

However, the hosts returned with renewed purpose in the second half, with Ayew leading the charge. He nodded in the equaliser before bundling home what would ultimately be the winning goal after Fatawu Issahaku had scored the third.

Although the Central African Republic pulled one back through Louis Mafouta, who also completed a hat-trick, Ghana held on for the win.

Here are five things we learned from this pulsating encounter:

Jordan Ayew’s Scoring Prowess: The Crystal Palace forward celebrated his 103rd appearance with a special performance that saw him score a hat-trick, leading the Black Stars by example. His ability to convert crucial chances and calm under pressure were pivotal in Ghana’s comeback. Ayew’s performance highlighted his role as a key leader and finisher for the team. He has now scored eight goals in his last five matches for Ghana.

Impressive Fatawu Issahaku: While Ayew rightfully earned headlines, Fatawu Issahaku’s performance merits recognition. Given a start after an impressive cameo against Mali, Issahaku proved his worth with a goal and an overall standout performance. His threat on the wing and crucial goal underscored his importance to the team, adding depth to Ghana’s attacking options.

Defensive Vulnerabilities: Despite the victory, Ghana’s defence displayed vulnerabilities, conceding three goals. The defensive line, featuring Alidu Seidu, Alexander Djiku, Mohammed Salisu, and Gideon Mensah, struggled with the pace and movement of the Central African Republic’s attackers, highlighting the need for tighter marking and improved coordination. Goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi also has to work for his spot as first-choice.

Qualification Hopes Remain Strong: Sitting atop Group I with a three-point lead over second-placed Mali, Ghana’s qualification hopes for the World Cup remain promising. Consistent performances in their remaining fixtures should secure their ticket to Qatar later this year.

Resilience Under Pressure: The match highlighted Ghana’s resilience and ability to thrive under pressure, bouncing back from a halftime deficit to clinch a 4-3 victory. This fighting spirit, demonstrated in their comeback win against Mali last Thursday as well, reflects the team’s mental strength and determination under coach Otto Addo’s guidance, solidifying their control over their World Cup destiny despite previous confidence setbacks.