Thomas Partey grabbed an amazing hat-trick as Ghana thrashed Congo 5-1 in Brazzaville on Tuesday to revive the country’s faint 2018 World Cup qualifying hopes.
The win was Ghana’s first in the group – at the fourth time of asking. Gary Al-Smith jots a series of quick thoughts on the clinical performance by the Black Stars.
- The theme of the team’s performance today, for me, is MERIT OVER NAMES. If we start players on merit, we will get imperious performances like this.
- Everything Kwasi Appiah didn’t do last Friday, he did today. His selection on point, starting players with desire and hunger. 9/10 and well done, coach.
- Unavailability of Asamoah Gyan and Ayew brothers a huge blessing in disguise. It has allowed Ghana to see what permanent options they can have.
- Richard Ofori proved solid in the first quarter of the game when Congo piled on the pressure.
- Thomas Partey was deployed as a 10 and though he is no Abedi Pele, his instincts were sharp indeed. Quite clear that he has potential to take responsibility, but would he?
- Lumor Agbenyenu clearly an unknown quantity for Congo and they didn’t know what to do with him. Quietly effective.
- Harrison Afful captained the team in a way that showed you don’t need to be loud to lead the Black Stars.
- Boakye-Yiadom brace vindicates appeals for his inclusion after the good last few months he has had. Scored seven goals in Europa League qualifying and his form showed.
- Congo was deflated with the first goal. By the time they could recover, Ghana was two up. The urgency present today was impressive.
- A key component of this Ghana show today was speed. From the wings, Agyepong (pictured below) was electric and more measured. His place in the side is not assured but he is a good option to have in place of Andre Ayew.
- Special mention to Christian Atsu. He continues to be the one player whose performance in a Ghana jersey almost always seems better than for his club. Congo could not track him for most of the game, just like in Kumasi.
- On the whole, a markedly improved team show than we saw in Kumasi. 8/10 from the team.
- May Kwasi Appiah have the balls to drop players out of form all the time, and not just as he did today because some were not available.