Ghana’s senior national team, the Black Stars returned to action over the weekend, with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Ethiopia in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
The Black Stars moved to second-place in Group F, having now garnered six points from three games.
Two goals from the returning Jordan Ayew were enough to seal all three points for Ghana, despite a late fightback from the Ethiopians.
Sitting on the top of the group, though, is Kenya, who also currently have seven points in three games.
Here are four things we learned from Sunday’s game:
4. Ayews back with a bang
The return of the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan, divided opinion among many Ghanaians. There were those who thought the pair didn’t deserve the call-up.
Others also felt they are not committed, but once the game against Ethiopia started, it was evident the quality they brought to the team.
Jordan opened the scoring as early as the third minute with a deft finish. The on-loan Crystal Palace striker latched onto a long pass and applied a marvellous finish to give the Black Stars the lead.
Andre was also in top shape, as his outside the boot pass led to the penalty, which was perfectible converted by his younger brother.
It was a good return for the Ayew brothers and based on their performance, it’s fair to say they are here to stay.
3. Kwesi Appiah vindicated by his call-ups
Prior to the game, Black Stars coach Kwesi Appiah was under huge pressure, but he was ultimately vindicated by the result.
Appiah had earlier stated that he opted to call-up the old guard because he needed their experience and quality in the team.
Having lost to the Kenya last month, the Ethiopia game was a do or die affair. However, his squad did not let him down at all, with one of the returnees Jordan Ayew scoring both goals in the game.
After all the pressure that came with his call-up, Kwesi Apiah can breathe a huge sigh of relief with this win.
2. The end for Gyan?
While the Ayew brothers and coach Kwesi Appiah had a lot to smile about after the game against Ethiopia, the story was totally different for Asamoah Gyan.
The Ghana captain has been in and out of the team in recent months. In fact, he hasn’t played for the Black Stars in more than a year.
More worrying is the fact that Gyan can’t get into the team at the moment. On Sunday, Kwesi Appiah benched the striker, preferring to start with Jordan Ayew and Emmanuel Boateng.
With Gyan also not getting enough game time at club level, it is increasingly looking like his time with the national team is drawing to an end.
Perhaps the 2019 AFCON could be his last outing with the Black Stars.
1. Black Stars still not gelling
The Black Stars won against Ethiopia, but the general performance of the team was not that impressive from a neutral point of view.
It is true that the most important thing was to get the result, but when playing against a minnow like Ethiopia, a lot is expected from the Black Stars.
The team could simply not gel, with their passing from back looking particularly disjointed.
Also, the linkup between the midfield and attack was non-existent for the larger part of the game.
In short, the performance was not good enough, and going forward things need to improve.
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