Ghana strong for Zimbabwe in Harare as the Black Stars run a 0-1 victory in the second leg at the Zimbabwe National Sports Stadium.
Ghana complete double victory over Zimbabwe after beating Mapeza’s side 0-1 in the reversed fixture in Harare on Tuesday afternoon. Thomas Partey was the hero after grabbing the only goal of the game from a spectacular free kick in the first half as Ghana go top of Group G in African World Cup qualifiers.
Zimbabwe boss Norman Mapeza made seven changes to his side that were whipped 3-1 a couple of days ago. Goals from Kudus Mohammed, Thomas Partey and Andre Ayew and a consolation from Knowledge Musona settled on the 3-1 score line.
Mapeza named Tawunurwa Shumba in place of Washington Arubi in posts whiles Zimbabwe were boosted by return of former Everton star Branden Galloway and Kaizer Chiefs ace Khama Billiat. There were also place for Jordan Zemura, Alec Mudimu, Terrence Dzvukamanja, Teenage Hadebe and Rahman Kutsanzira,
Ghana manager Milovan Rajevac kept consistency making only two changes with Abdul Fatawu Issahaku and Andre Ayew making way for Iddrisu Baba and Benjamin Tetteh respectively.
Andre on the bench means Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey captained the Black Stars to face Zimbabwe who kept captaincy faith in Knowledge Musona.
The Zimbabwe captained pulled early first half injury scary after crashing with Ghana shot-stopper Joseph Wollacott. However, Musona stood on his feet to continue for his country. Unlike in the first leg that Black Stars pounced ahead early, their struggle to maintain possession deny them an early goal at the Zimbabwe National Stadium.
They were unconvincing at possession, so do Zimbabwe, who failed to organize their attacks either. The likes of Billiat, Musona and Kutsanzira whom much were expected from were dealt with by the Ghanaian defense.
There were no clear cut chances from both sides and Ghana who had stepped a bit ahead of Zimbabwe had to score from a set piece. Kamaldeen Suleymana who was Ghana’s brightest spot at the moment was brought down at back of the box.
Arsenal midfielder Partey converted with a powerful strike to the top right corner to give Ghana the lead after 31′ minute. Nothing shiny will be taking from Partey’s strike but Zimbabwe goalkeeper Shumba should have saved the situation; with the ball passing through his figures so easily.
Before Partey’s goal, Kudus Mohammed nearly broke the deadlock where his cut inside from the right effort went tiny over the cross bar.
Ghana gradually controlled the game and nearly doubled the lead three minutes to half time when Daniel Amartey’s rebound from Jordan Ayew’s corner was blocked on the Zimbabwean goal line.
Right after the break Kudu Mohammed hit the woodwork after being set up by Partey who wasn’t so exceptional like his Atletico Madrid days over the two legs. Ajax man Kudus was unlucky not to find back of the net!.
Kutsanzira few minute later danced himself through the Ghana defense into the box but his outside foot strike went way ward the far post. The game had hit end-to-end action but Zimbabwe saw most of attacks in Ghana’s final third.
Knowledge Musona should have leveled for Zimbabwe in one of their attacks on the 59′ minute as the captain beats Daniel Amartey on the right side; entered the box but his shot to the far posts went off target.
Zimbabwe piled pressure for the canceller with Khama Billiat and Musona becoming hard for Ghana defense to handle. Ghana’s attack had broken down as Milo brought in German based Daniel Kyereh for Kamaldeen Suleymana.
Milo found ways to stop Zimbabwe from playing their game and sent more men up front for high pressing but that wasn’t working enough as the home side continue to enjoy possession.
Ghana however managed a corner kick on the 68′ minute; swung in by Jordan Ayew, the cleared rebound fell to Kudus who semi played it over his marker before his weak shot went straight into Shumba’s hands.
Ghana threatened again with Daniel Kyereh’s strike from the left side of the box missing the post by inch. And Kudus Mohammed from similar fashion also saw his low carpet shot narrowly missed the right posts.
On the 74′ minutes, Milo was forced to make his second substitution when Joseph Aidoo was brought on for Alexander Djiku who jumped onto the stretcher after pulling an injury.
Even with the game entering later stages, Black Stars energy levels were still splendid; able to facilitate in forcing the Zimbabweans for all possible balls and Khama Billiat was the man to be challenged right away however the Kaizer Chief man ended up winning a foul for Zimbabwe following Kudus’ challenge in center of the pitch.
Four minutes to full time, Milo made trio substitutions with Jordan Ayew making way for Samuel Owusu, Andre Ayew for Kudus Mohammed and Genoa forward Caleb Ekuban for Benjamin Tetteh.
Few minute later, Zimbabwe earned a goal scoring opportunity for the equalizer after Daniel Kyereh fouling his marker at the exact position Partey put Ghana ahead in the first half.
However, Musona’s free kick went way over the cross bar as Ghana maintained their lead. Mapeza made another substitution with Khama Billiat going out for SuperSport United forward Kudakwashe Mahachi.
The victory takes Ghana to top of Group G two points ahead of South Africa. Bafana Bafana take on Ethiopia in the other fixture and a win will take South Africa back to the top while Ghana drop the second place.