The Black Stars of Ghana got their World Cup qualifying campaign somewhat back on track after getting a comfortable 5-1 win over Congo in Brazaville.
The Stars looked a totally different team from the dejected bunch which only managed a 1-1 draw with the same Congolese in Kumasi last Friday.
Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Teye Partey inspired the team with a hattrick, with a brace from Richmond Boakye Yiadom putting Congo to the sword.
The win sends the Stars to five points in the group and could reinvigorate their challenge for a place in Russia next year, depending on results in tonight’s other group game between Egypt and Uganda.
Kwesi Appiah has been heavily criticized for Friday’s result, and fate moved his hand with injuries ruling out both Ayew brothers and skipper Asamoah Gyan – leading him to make wholesale changes in attack. And like a charm, the team clicked after a difficult opening.
Boakye-Yiadom started the rout after he connected a Thomas Agyepong cross during a goal mouth melee, followed by a similar goal by Partey after good work by Atsu down the right.
The Congolese pulled one back after Ayett headed in from a corner, but their morale was killed just before half time when Partey scored again, this time a spectacular drive from a very acute angle which befuddled the Congolese goalise. He made it 4-1 in the second half after capitalizing on a mistake in the Congolese midfield.
Boakye-Yiadom completed the 5-1 massacre in the closing stages of the game, giving Ghana a huge win which might be the launch pad for a late stab at qualification.
With 5 points from four games, Ghana needs Egypt and Uganda, who meet in Alexandria tonight, to play to a draw which would bring Ghana’s qualification chances back into their own hands. A different result and the Stars would be in dire danger of missing next year’s mundial.
Egypt vrs Uganda kicks off at 1800 GMT.