Ghana stunned Algeria 1-0 in Sétif to secure their first-ever ticket to the Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations finals Tuesday night.
The Black Meteors went into the final round decider on the disadvantage after they were held to a 1-1 draw in Accra last Friday.
Coupled with a suspension to midfielder Majeed Ashimeru and injury to Zakaria Fuseini, coach Ibrahim Tanko was forced to tweak his starting line-up by introducing Habib Mohammed to form a centre-back partnership with Nicholas Opoku. Isaac Twum took the place of Ashimeru while Michael Agbekpornu joined the former to shield the backline in place of Osman Bukari who had taken ill after the team arrived in Algeria on Monday.
Ghana were solid in the first half – enjoyed more possession but lacked the cutting edge up front.
The second half looked balanced though the hosts always threatened to score but got denied by goalkeeper Kwame Baah who at a point almost gave a goal away following a miscommunication with Kotoko club mate Habib Mohammed.
Meteors kept their composure with some good passing and counter-attacking moves until the 69th minute when Yaw Yeboah received the ball in midfield. The Ghana skipper squeezed past four markers and with the Algerian keeper on sight, slotted home with his left foot.
The final 20 minutes saw the Algerians huff and puff in search of the equalizer but coach Tanko’s men held their own to keep the lead and advance on a 2-1 aggregate scoreline.
Ghana join hosts Egypt, Zambia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Mali for the 2019 Under-23 Africa Cup of Nations scheduled for November 8-22.
The top three teams at the third edition of the U-23 Afcon will represent Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.