The Black Stars of Ghana took a giant leap towards qualifying for the 2017 African Cup of Nations with a comfortable 3-1 win over the Mambas of Mozambique at the Ohene Djan sports stadium in Accra.
Frank Achaempong, John Boye and a delightful Jordan Ayew chip gave the Stars a 3-0 lead, before Apson Manjate puleed one back for the visitors to wrap up an easy three points for the senior national team.
Injuries to captain and vice captain Asamoah Gyan and Dede Ayew meant Avram Grant had to make significant changes to his line-up, and the replacements did not disappoint. Frank Achaempong and Christian Atsu flanked Jordan Ayew and Majeed Warris in an offensive 4-4-2 formation for the Stars.
Ghana started on the front foot, and took only five minutes to take the lead. Frank Achaempong latched onto a peachy Mubarak Wakaso through ball to lash a strong left footed drive past the Mozambican goalie.
The Stars remained on top of the game for the remainder of the half, playing at a leisurely pace as they kept possession neatly and hounded the Mambas off the ball whenever they regained possession. Despite their dominance, they failed to add a second goal before the interval.
A fortuitous turn of events handed Ghana the second goal just after the restart. A scuffed Christian Atsu was cleared off the line, but the clearance from the rebound hit John Boye’s outstretched arm into the goal, but the referee let it stand for Ghana to take a two goal lead.
Jordan Ayew made it three with the best goal of the night, when he lobbed a Christian Atsu pass first time over the opposing goalie to put Ghana 3-0 up.
Mozambique’s headed equaliser came not soon after, and the game fizzled after that as Ghana quietly saw out the game.
Ghana has thus picked up three wins out of three, giving them a clear six point lead at the top pending the Mauritius-Rwanda game. The Black Stars are back in action on Sunday, when they face the Mambas in the return leg of this fixture in Maputo. A win would all but guarantee qualification for the Stars to the next Cup of Nations tournament in Gabon next year.