Stars stay top after stalemate with Angola

The Black Stars of Ghana came from behind to settle for a 1-1 score line against the Palancas Negras of Angola to maintain their lead in Group E of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers.

Substitute Osman Bukari brought the Stars back into the game just 30 seconds after being introduced into the crunch tie, with a beautiful strike that stunned the home side.

The first half of the game appeared to have been tactically played by the coaches to ensure that there was no room for errors, as both sides failed to make any meaningful impact.

On a few occasions, however, both sides tried to outwit the other but their efforts were not enough to break the deadlock, pushing the first half to a scoreless end.

Angola looked more purposeful after resumption of play and looked determined to punish the defensive play of the Stars.

Moments into the game, the host had a brilliant opportunity to test the best out of goalkeeper Ati Zigi, but it was blasted wide to the relief of the Stars.

The Stars were not lucky the second time when skipper of the day, Daniel Amartey, was judged to have brought down an Angolan player for a spot kick to be awarded.

The kick was excellently converted by Lucas Joao to give the home side a deserving lead, from an impressive pressing game plan they adopted after the break.

The early lead by the Palancas Negras invigorated them as they looked more comfortable, composed and pressed their guests for a possible cushioning goal.

The intensity of the Angolans play forced Chris Hughton to take off Antoine Semenyo and Kamal Deen, who were replaced by Joseph Paintsil and Inaki Williams respectively, to neutralise the host’s play

Joseph Paintsil justified his inclusion with incredible pace and beautiful passes. He gave a beautiful and tailor-measured pass for another substitute, Osman Bukari, to connect from close range to restore parity for the Stars on the 71st minute.

The Stars came into the game strongly after the equaliser and tormented their hosts, with Joseph Paintsil hitting the cross bar with a beautiful kick that nearly fetched Ghana the lead.

Inaki Williams had a brilliant strike at goal to seal victory for the Stars on the 86th minute, but his intended strike at goal looked feeble and harmless.

Two minutes later, Osman Bukari set up Joseph Paintsil to kill the game for the Stars but Paintsil’s well taken shot at goal was parried away to give Ghana a corner.


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