Ghana kept alive their hopes of reaching the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after beating South Africa by a lone goal to topple Bafana Bafana in Group G and qualify for the play-offs.
Andre Ayew scored the only goal in the nerve-wracking encounter at the Cape Coast Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Qatar-based forward, playing his 100th match for the Black Stars, converted calmly from the spot after Daniel Amartey was fouled in the box in the first half.
It was a solid, well-organised performance by the Ghanaians who knew any kind of victory would be enough to send them through.
When they lost Kudus Mohammed in the early stages due to injury, they didn’t panic. They pressured the South Africans, winning many free kicks and corner kicks, one that resulted in the penalty.
Daniel Kofi Kyereh’s delivery wasn’t properly dealt with by the South Africans and Amartey was impeded just when he was about to attack the ball.
Ayew stepped up and expertly sent goalkeeper Williams the wrong way to give Ghana a precious lead in the 33rd minute.
South Africa quickly changed their approach and started attacking but Ghana managed to end the half without conceding.
Bafana came into the second half strongly. They tried a lot of long balls which barely troubled Amartey and Alexander Djiku.
Goalkeeper Jojo Wollacott was barely tested by Percy Tau and co in attack for the South Africans.
In attack, Jordan was strong, winning free-kicks in key areas. Kamaldeen Sulemana was decent and created a couple of half-chances.
South African players slumped on the pitch, in tears after the final whistle while Ghanaians celebrated. Milovan Rajevac joined his players to celebrate the important victory.
Ghana join Mali, DR Congo, Egypt, Senegal and Morocco in the play-offs. Four more slots are yet to be decided.
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