Black Stars coach Avram Grant’s pre-match confession that it would not be an easy game was confirmed by his lethargic players as Ghana managed a face-saving one all game against their Canadian counterparts during a drab international encounter at the RFK stadium in Washington DC on the night of Tuesday October 13, 2015.
But somehow, the winner was Canada who played a determined game and signalled to the world their future looks bright and can no more be taken for granted. The Canadians capitalized on the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with the world’s 25th ranked team, to come out of the shadows bearing a poignant message of a new soccer force on the horizon.
The Canucks of Canada who paraded six debutants, were not intimidated by the star-studded world class quality of the Ghanaians, who at some stages, were rather overwhelmed by the tactical superiority of the soccer minnows, ranked 104. The absence of five key players in the Ghana team motivated the Canucks, more so, when there was a virtual parity of first-timers on both sides with Ghana too, parading four novices.
Thus when the game kicked off, the two sides struggled to gain cohesion. Ghana’s midfield lacked beat and bite and the was attack wobbly. But the Canadians capitalized on the Stars’ weaknesses to announce how eager they were in to win and On the 25th minute, scored from a long range effort.
The match was characterized by faulty and disjointed passes from both teams. However Canada dominated the first half with purposeful play which signaled their intention to cause an upset but for a double save on the 15th minute mark by Razak Braimah in goal for the Black Stars.
The solid partnership between John Boye and Edwin Gyimah prevented the Canadians from opening their account for the match, which started in a whirlwind fashion that quickly degenerated into an armature approach from both ends of the field.
However, on the 24th minute Ghana earned a free kick at the edge of the Canadian penalty area but new boy Bernard Mensah sent the effort wide of the Canadian goal post to the relief of Canadian goal keeper, Kyriakos Stamatopoulos.
Canada changed the complexion of the game on the 29th minute, when left back Marcel De Jong unleashed a thunderbolt from long range that saw Razak Braimah rooted to a spot and the ball sailing into the top corner of his post for the opener.
Ghana then tried to push for the equalizer but winger David Accam went into the referee’s book for a yellow card for diving.
Ghana finally leveled the scores when an interplay between Jordan Ayew and Albert Adomah resulted in the latter equalizing for the Black Stars on the 45 minute mark to bring the first half to a close. The Black Stars stamped their authority on the game in the second half when coach Avram Grant brought on Afriyea Acquah for ineffective Wakaso Mubarak.
The partnership between Acquah and stand in captain, Agyemang Badu took control of the midfield and won most of the midfield duels but Ghana could not find the answer to its striking woes without Asamoah Gyan and probably Andre Ayew. The inclusion of Majeed Warris who came on for Bernard Mensah on the 59th minute mark did little to improve the fortunes of the Black Stars. However, the inclusion of Sam Lloyd, Kwadwo Poku and Gideon Baah added some spark to the Ghanaian game.
Their efforts however proved futile as the referee brought proceeding to an end after 93 minutes of uneventful and a true meaning of a friendly match to an end. The Canadian stand in coach, Michael Findlay at the post match press conference was happy with the outcome of the game, considering the fact that Canada, which is not even placed 100 in the FIFA rankings has just secured a vital draw against the 25th ranked Ghana.
Ghana coach Avram Grant would not comment on individual player performance but noted that the game has afforded him the opportunity to assess players he could bring into the fold of the Black Stars.
Source: Francis Eshun-Baidoo, Washington DC