The Black Stars of Ghana put up a dogged performance to edge the Cranes of Uganda by a goal to nil through a penalty converted expertly by Andre Dede Ayew in the 32nd minute.
Captain Asamoah Gyan won the penalty when he deployed his predatory instincts to latch onto a poorly controlled ball by Uganda’s Isindi in the 18 yard box and was fouled.
Ghana was very much in control of the first half and missed some glorious opportunities to consolidate the lead. However, the Cranes of Uganda commanded the game in the 2nd half and surged forward in drones looking for the equalizer but they were thwarted by a solid defensive line and some good goalkeeping by Razak Braimah.
This is the rankings for the Ghana Black Stars out of a total score of 10.
Razak Braimah (7): Razak commanded the 18 yard box with confidence. His only blunder was when he failed to properly clear a ball in the 2nd half. An assured performance in total.
Harrison Afful: (5): Harrison Afful was Ghana’s weakest link in defence. He seems to have lost his pace and the usual marauding forays into opposition territory to deliver incisive crosses. Our group opponents will certainly attack us from his flank in subsequent games.
Baba Rahman (6): Until his injury in the 37th minute he was quite industrious in cutting down the Ugandan attacks and launching attacks of his own. He will be missed if he doesn’t recover quickly.
Daniel Amartey (7): An impressive performance by Daniel Amartey. He got beaten for pace once in the 1st half but he relied on his tenacity and experience to recover the ball. He’s brimming with confidence and will be a key man for Ghana as the tournament progresses.
Thomas Teye Partey (8): Finally, Ghana has found that midfield enforcer to replace the legendary Michael Essien. His ability to break attacks and launch the ball forward in commanding fashion was impressive. The commentator described his commanding approach as “Yaya Toure-like”. Great performance!
Mubarak Wakaso (7): Wakaso provided the needed support in midfield and was tenacious in his tackles to ward off the muscular Ugandan attackers. He did a decent job in midfield but his usual stinging shots were missing as he focused on shielding the defence.
Christian Atsu (8): Despite his man of the match performance, he could have done better by taking some chances. He was Ghana’s biggest threat and tested the Ugandan goalkeeper with some ferocious drives. However, his crosses in the game were unimpressive.
Jordan Ayew (6): He made some good runs but he held onto the ball much longer than necessary and his attempts at goal were also feeble. He never stopped running but run out of steam in the 2nd half.
Asamoah Gyan (6): Gyan remains Ghana’s biggest goal threat. He was unlucky to miss with 2 headers in the first half and he deployed his predatory instincts to win the penalty for Ghana. Gyan’s biggest asset is his ability to draw defenders to himself to give other players the opportunity. He was starved of quality crosses in the game but any defender underrates him at his peril.
Andre Ayew (6): Dede took the penalty with the nerve of steel knowing the implications of a miss. He was industrious in the game but chose the wrong option when he meet Jordan’s cross with a feeble non-drop shot instead of controlling and shooting with better power and accuracy. He did a good job by holding the ball in the 2nd half when it was obvious the team was tired. However, he seems a bit off with his fitness.
Frank Acheampong (6): Replaced Baba Rahman and did a good job protecting the defence.
Agyeman Badu (6): Replaced Captain Asamoah Gyan to help consolidate the midfield and protect Ghana’s lead. He did a good job of it but not enough to remarkably impact the game.
Afriyie Acquah (n/a): Replaced Jordan Ayew in the 85th minute. Too late to make an impact.