Ghana’s Black Stars yesterday produced a magnificent performance to crush Qatar 5-1 in their second international friendly game at the Titanic stadium in the Turkish city of Antalya.
The result must have come as a big relief to Ghana coach CK Akonnor whose charges slumped 1-3 to Mali’s Eagles in their opening friendly last Friday at the same venue.
Yesterday’s performance was a tear away from the lethargic one the Stars exhibited against Mali which triggered a barrage of bashing from the public.
Two assists each from Crystal Palace Jordan Ayew and new Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey contributed to the damage of the 2022 World Cup hosts.
It was Tariqe Fosu who opened the floodgates for Ghana after crashing in rebound from Jordan’s effort from the right. But the lead was levelled up by Ali Almoez just before the break.
Captain Andre Ayew restored the lead with Saudi Arabia-based winger Samuel Owusu also making it 3-1.
Qatar almost broke the deadlock just four minutes into the game when Almoez connected to a teasing cross from the right, hitting his shot against the upright.
Inspired by the close effort, Afif Akram then released a shot on goal after a quick counter-break but his drive went straight into the arms of Razak Abalora.
Ghana’s first chance came in the 14th minute when Andre Ayew, after being picked up by Partey with a through-ball, beat three men inside the box but his final shot went straight to goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb.
Akram then shot over the bar from long range, moments before Brentford winger Fosu broke the deadlock for Ghana with a tap-in from close range after Jordan Ayew’s first shot was denied by the goalkeeper.
Jordan went searching for Ghana’s second goal with an unsuccessful curler from outside the box in the 27th minute, then Owusu weaved his way into the Qatari box but saw his ultimate shot saved by goalkeeper Sheeb.
Just before the break, Qatar levelled the scores when centre-back Khoukhi Boualem floated a long ball over the Ghana defensive line. The ball beat Ghana centre-back Joseph Aidoo and perfectly fell to Almoez who lofted his first touch over the onrushing goalkeeper Abalora before hitting a shot into an empty net to make it 1-1.
After the recess, Ghana came back with renewed energy as Partey saw a shot, following a run from deep, saved away by goalkeeper Sheeb.
A minute later, Jordan laid a good ball for brother Andre in the Qatari box but the Swansea City attacker saw his first shot saved by the goalkeeper and his rebound rattle the post.
In the 50th minute, Owusu tried to restore Ghana’s lead following a neat exchange with Jordan Ayew but Sheeb was alert to save the winger’s effort from just inside the box.
Three minutes after the hour mark, Andre Ayew fired the Black Stars 2-1 up after beating an offside trap to receive a neat pass from Partey in the box. The 30-year-old then slotted a cool effort beyond the goalkeeper.
Two minutes later, Ghana went 3-1 up through Owusu who produced a composed finish after being picked out by Partey with a lofted effort.
Jordan then set up Andre Ayew for his second goal of the day to take the score to 4-1 before substitute Caleb Ekuban wrapped things up with a final goal on an Owusu assist.
The games are part of the Black Stars’ preparations for the resumption of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in November where Ghana face Sudan in a double-header.
Akonnor made five changes to his starting line-up yesterday.