Ghana extended their clean start to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying series with a 1-0 win over Săo Tomé and Príncipe Monday afternoon.
The contest, the second for the Black Stars in Group C after beating South Africa 2-0, was settled by Jordan Ayew’s second-half penalty strike.
Familiar with the conditions of their pitch, Săo Tomé started the match confidently in the opening five minutes, but they soon recoiled as the Black Stars ceased control of the game.
Ghana’s first clear attempt on goal at Estadio Nacional de 12 Julho came in the tenth minute when Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey sent Jordan Ayew through on goal but the Săo Tomé goalkeeper claimed the ball.
Moments later, the shot-stopper nearly caused his side the opener when he gifted the ball to Jordan Ayew, who found Samuel Owusu. The latter’s shot was however blocked, and Emmanuel Boateng’s attempt to fire in the rebound was flagged offside by the assistant referee.
As the Black Stars continued to control the game and making incursions forward, the hosts also intensified their resilience at the back. This made it increasingly difficult for the Stars to penetrate.
Just before the half-hour mark, Gideon Mensah sent a teasing one in and Andre Ayew’s header flew just off the bar. And moments later, a free-kick from close range and Andre Ayew’s effort go over the bar.
The home side held the Stars until the end of the first half.
Ghana started the second half strongly and just five minutes into the second half, the Săo Tomé goalkeeper brought down Emmanuel Boateng and the referee whistled for a penalty, which Jordan Ayew converted calmly for the opener.
The Stars pressed on for the second goal to seal victory but pitch conditions continued to make it difficult for the Black Stars to control the game the way they wanted.
Ghana made its first substitution in the 64th minute. Mohammed Kudus, who scored on his debut against South Africa, replaced Emmanuel Boateng.
And in the 72nd minute, German-born winger Christopher Antwi-Adjei of Paderborn FC was granted his Ghana debut as he came on for Samuel Owusu.
Ghana lowered the tempo and brought in Joseph Attameh for Iddrisu Baba in the closing stages of the game. The Black Stars held on to their slender advantage for their second successive win in the qualifiers in as many games to go top of the Group C table.