Ghana earned a 1-0 victory over Ethiopia thanks to a howler from visiting goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko as Black Stars got their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start on Friday evening at the Cape Coast Stadium.
Despite Ghana’s dominance, they had failed to trouble the shot-stopper until Mubarak Wakaso hit a shot from long range which Shanko let the ball through his hands and legs into the back of the net.
The 34th-minute goal settled the encounter in favour of Charles Akonnor’s side who are now top of Group G after South Africa and Zimbabwe played out a goalless draw earlier in the day.
Ethiopia came close to snatching a point in the dying embers but goalkeeper Richard Ofori who was making his first Black Stars appearance since December 2020, made a good save and was helped out by Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey who prevented a rebound.
Shanko was substituted a minute after the halftime break with his replacement Fasil Gebremichael saving Jordan Ayew’s well-taken freekick close to the box before he pulled off a double save in the 73rd minute to deny Yaw Yeboah and Andre Ayew respectively.
The Black Stars got the job done by taking three points but Akonnor knows there is a lot of work to be done because his players were not convincing. They must improve in the next game against South Africa scheduled for Monday, September 6.
Akonnor will send a depleted squad to Johannesburg. Jordan Ayew, Daniel Amartey, Baba Rahaman, Andy Yiadom and Jeffrey Schlupp – all five who started today’s game – have been ruled out because South Africa are on UK’s Covid-19 red list.
Germany-based duo Daniel Kofi Kyereh who made his debut on Friday and Braydon Manu are also out of the clash due to the same reason.
Akonnor can however count on captain Andre Ayew, goalscorer Mubarak Wakaso, key midfielder Baba Iddrisu, and centre-backs Alexander Djiku and Jonathan Mensah for the match.