Ghana’s Black Stars performed far under par to draw goalless with Madagascar at the Mahamasina Stadium in Antananarivo earlier today.
The draw keeps Ghana’s chances of qualifying to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations still alive with the four time African champion needing a win over Central African Republic in the final round of qualifiers to guarantee qualification.
A win over Madagascar would have rendered September’s matchup a near friendly contest for the Black Stars but after failing to deliver an improved performance on its double header against Angola, Ghana needs to beat CAR to secure qualification.
The home side had a handful of near scoring opportunities to get on the score sheet but Captain Andria, Dorian Bertrand, Romain Metanire and Tendry Randrianarijaona lacked quality to seriously threaten Ghana.
Madagascar’s best chance came in the second half when Black Stars goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi was forced to get down quickly to turn a rasping shot away from goal.
The Black Stars played poorly in the first half as players struggled to maintain possession particularly in the opposition’s half but performed better in the second half.
Kamaldeen Sulemana and Salis Samed were guilty of holding on to the ball a bit too long and denied Ghana opportunities to attack in quick transition.
Ghana struggled to create chances from open play and relied on long range shot attempts and set pieces to get something going up front.
However, the Black Stars inefficiencies from set plays showed up again as the Stars failed to convert any of them.
Thomas Partey, whose future with Arsenal is under serious threat, forced a good save from Madagascar goalkeeper Nina Razakanirina from a directly shot free kick attempt.
After surprisingly being left out of the starting lineup, Kudus Mohammed made his presence felt immediately after subbing in for Jordan Ayew when his attempted pass broke into the path of Osman Bukari who wasted the chance to smash the ball goal bound first time.
Debutant Ernest Nuamah impressed with his vaunted direct runs and trickery while fellow debutant Patrick Kpozo largely struggled in the first half but performed very well in the second half.
Substitutes Kudus, Bukari and Nuamah made the Black Stars front line more threatening than starters, Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew and Joseph Paintsil did during their varied time on the field.
Black Stars head coach Chris Hughton and his assistants George Boateng and Mas-Ud Dramani looked frustrated at several points in the game.
With the draw and Angola’s 2-1 win over CAR, Ghana’s lead in the group has trimmed to just a point; the Black Stars have nine points from winning two games and drawing three times in five games.
Angola ranks second with eight points while CAR is in third place with seven points.