Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan admits his absence paradoxically helped the Black Stars to a 5-1 away triumph over Congo in 2018 World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
After lasting for 63 minutes as the Red Devils bravely forced a 1-1 stalemate in the first leg on Friday, the Kayserispor forward missed the return encounter in Brazzaville due to an injury picked up in Kumasi.
“It is true we could have struggled to win if I had played," Gyan told Hot FM.
"It is possible that with me, they would have been very defensive but without me, they opened up and that gave us the chance to score five.
“In Kumasi, they were very defensive with five men at the back when I was in the game.
"When I was substituted, they opened up and we scored. So my absence really helped the team.
“Even before we started the game in Congo, their skipper asked me whether I will be playing or not.
"When I told him I won’t play, he was happy. So that lured them to open up and we had our way."
The Black Stars return to action next month in an away clash with the Cranes before rounding off the qualifying campaign at home to the Pharaohs in November.
Gyan is Ghana's all-time top scorer with 51 goals 106 internationals.