The Black Stars of Ghana suffered a 2-0 defeat against Egypt in a crucial 2018 World Cup qualifying encounter in Alexandria on Sunday.
Ghana were the dominant forces in the game, pushing the home side so hard to defend from their goal line. In almost all department of the match was controlled by the visitors.
The missing mojo for the Black Stars was the cutting edge after a total dominance but Egypt defended very well especially keeping Jordan and Dede Ayew as well as Christian Atsu at bay. Virtually, they reigned supreme by picking all the high balls floated into the box.
Against the run of play, the home side were awarded a penalty after Harrison Afful misjudged his tackle and brought down Mahmoud Trezeguet in the box. Gabonese referee Otogo Constane wasted no time by pointing to the spot. AS Roma’s Mohammed Salah calmly slotted the ball through the middle to beat Razak Braimah on the 43rd minute.
Despite being second best on the pitch, Egypt did what matters most by taking the lead heading for recess.
Avram Grant went for an ‘all out’ style by pushing Agyeman-Badu, Mubarak Wakaso and Dede Ayew in a more advance role leaving Thomas Partey and the two defenders – Amartey and Jonathan Mensah at the back
It was a matter of time an equalizer was hoped to be fetched as Egypt were under intense pressure.
Atsu, played in a more unfavorable position at the left side – saw more of the ball but was unproductive. His final delivery was poor and crossing abilities were awful. Jordan on the other picked the wrong spots on several occasion and kept missing and resurfacing in the game.
The closest Ghana came was when Agyeman-Badu narrowly missed the post after beating El Hadary following a cross from the right of attack.
After dominating with no purpose and clear cut chances at goal, Egypt caught Ghana on the counter-break. Salah miscued his kick and fortunately fell to on-rushing Abdallah El Said, who quickly turned and struck the ball through the legs of the defenders to beat Braimah in post who had occupied the left side, with five minutes to end the game.
The Pharaohs held onto the lead to carry the day by two goals to nil.
Ghana is left third on the table as Uganda defeated Congo Republic by a goal to nil on Saturday. Egypt has six points followed by Uganda with four whiles the Black Stars has only one point. Congo is rooted at the bottom with no point.
The qualifiers continue in August next year with Ghana facing Congo in a home and away affair.