Black Stars suffer World Cup qualifying blow after Congo draw

Friday 1st September , 2017 6:19 pm

The Black Stars’ hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup were dealt a serious blow on Friday after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Congo in Kumasi.

A mistake by Joseph Attamah Larweh in the first half was capitalised on by the Congolese, who took the lead through Thievy Bifouma.

The Black Stars found an equaliser after Thomas Partey stroked the ball home from Christian Atsu’s pass.

The result leaves the Black Stars in third place in their group, five points off Uganda at the top with three games left to play.

Having failed to get a win in the first two games of their World Cup Qualifying campaign, the Black Stars faced a huge task make it to Russia 2018.

However, a win for Uganda at home to Egypt on Thursday had thrown the group wide open for the other teams.

The Black Stars began the game with a strong team, with Captain Asamoah Gyan, Jordan Ayew and Andre Ayew starting.

Attamah Larweh started ahead of Harrison Afful at right back while Christian Atsu who’s had a decent start to the season at Newcastle starting on the left.

The Black Stars dominated possession in the first few minutes of the game without creating too many chances.

A Jordan Ayew free-kick caused some confusion in the Congolese box before it was fired home but the linesman’s flag was up for a foul in the box.

Joseph Larweh, who was making his first start for the Stars was caught in possession on the right and the ball was worked to Congolese captain Bifouma, who finished past Richard Ofori.

The Congolese allowed the Black Stars to keep the ball for much of the half, sitting deep and hitting the Ghanaians on the counter.

Despite having most of the possession, the Black Stars struggled to create many chances in the half.

Their best chance came from midfielder Thomas Partey whose drive was palmed behind by the goalkeeper.

Partey had a couple more efforts on goal, Asamoah Gyan fired a free-kick over the bar and Atsu volleyed over as the Black Stars went into the break 1-0 down.

A disappointing Larweh was withdrawn for the second half as Afful was introduced at right back.

The Black Stars started the half much better but their intensity died down as the half wore on with the Congolese content with sitting deep.

Asamoah Gyan and Andre Ayew were withdrawn and replaced by Thomas Agyapong and Kwadwo Poku who made an instant impact.

Jordan Ayew was played through on goal but cut back onto his right foot, allowing the defender to get a block in.

With the Black Stars heading for their second loss of qualifying, a pass from the impressive Atsu, found its way through to Partey who finished calmly.

Despite a late rally from the Stars, the Congolese held on to pick up their first point of the campaign.

By: Edwin Kwakofi/citifmonline.com/Ghana