The four-time African champions have booked a place in the next Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa after beating the Flames 1-0 in Lilongwe
The Black Stars won the game courtesy Afriyie Acquah’s early strike from an Andre Ayew cross after a short corner routine. The physicality of the game, however, seemed to raise cause for concern.
The four-time African champions started the game very well taking just three minutes to get into the lead after the Parma midfielder marked his competitive international debut by applying the finish to a well-worked short corner. The Ghanaians went on to control the rest of the opening minutes, but had to rely on Adam Kwarasey’s reflexes to prevent being pegged back.
Both teams then went through a period where they threatened the goalkeepers with dangerous efforts but neither shot-stoppers was really worked. Christian Atsu’s neat dummy onto his right foot before scuffing his shot with his weaker foot just inside the box was a reflection on the stage at which the game was in at the time. The physical aspect of the game then took over the rest of the match with the referee struggling to keep the game and tackles in check.
Al-Ain striker Asamoah Gyan was presented with a number of chances to double the lead first from a free kick which the goalkeeper did well to get to before he failed to connect with a well-placed Ayew cross as the Black Stars went into half time with a one goal lead.
The second half almost started like the first for the 2010 World Cup quarter-finalists but Atsu could not get his effort on target after getting past a couple of players. It took some good positional awareness from defender Isaac Vorsah, however, to prevent the Flames from going in front as he diverted a goal bound header wide before John Boye made the clearance.
The game still remained at that impasse as neither team managed to dominate the match and very few chances were created as the referee again struggled to deal effectively with the tackles that were coming in as the physicality of the game once again took over.
Very little got through in the final minutes of the game though, apart from the various injury stoppages, as the Black Stars saw out the result to book a place in South Africa for the 2013 African Cup of Nations.