Malabo - Ghana have fired their way into the semi-finals of the 2015
Africa Cup of Nations with an impressive 3-0 win over Guinea on Sunday.
The Black Stars who had recovered from a disastrous start to
their campaign in Equatorial Guinea faced their most difficult test of the
tournament against a naturally motivated Guinea side in the game played in
Ghana however in the end made light work of the Syli
National – owing the impressive win to a Christian Atsu brace and a debut
competitive goal for Kwesi Appiah.
The Black Stars made a dream start to the expected
tension-packed game with a fourth minute lead.
Christian Atsu finished off a neat move by the Ghanaians
which involved Kwesi Appiah and Andre Ayew who back-heeled into the path of the
Everton loanee to tuck in the opener.
Avram Grant’s side could have even doubled their lead
moments later but Atsu’s ferocious cross-field drive failed to reach its
intended target as goalkeeper Naby Yattara rushed out to make a vital save.
Guinea threatened to hit back after 16 minutes when Jonathan
Mensah gave away a soft foul on the edge of the penalty box.
Ibrahima Traore’s resultant free-kick only found itself
disappointingly in the side-net.
Guinea goalkeeper Naby Yattara could consider himself very
lucky for receiving just a yellow card in the 34th minute for an off-the ball
push on Christian Atsu which drew fury from some of the big Ghanaian players.
Asamoah Gyan almost scored Ghana’s second six minutes to
recess after he was released into space by Kwesi Appiah.
But the Al Ain ace’s final shot was uncharacteristically
very feeble and lacked the needed curl on it to beat Yattara.
Ghana who have lacked the expected creativity throughout the
half got the second goal just before halftime with Kwesi Appiah sneaking in
from behind to profit from a mistaken back pass by Mohamed Sankoh to tuck it in
between the legs of Yattara to end the half on a high for the Black Stars.
Guinea started the second half the hungrier side – eager to
get an early goal to set the tone for a competitive second period.
Fode Camara could count himself very lucky as an early Ghana
counter almost got him sent off four minutes into the restart. The PSM Makassar
defender got away with a yellow card for being the last man to foul Asamoah
Gyan who had got goal side of his marker.
Guinea were gifted a golden chance to get back into the game
in the 57th minute when the recovering Baba Abdul Rahman fouled Ibrahima Traore
on the edge of the penalty area.
The captain’s resulting kick – aiming at goal – was however
Guinea’s attacking surge was however dealt a blow when
Christian Atsu scored his second by collecting a well laid pass from Mubarak
Wakaso, shook off his marker and let one fly 30 yards from goal to catch Naby
Yattara by surprise in the 61st minute.
The Black Stars had well and truly managed to snuff out the
fight from Guinea and were at this point just playing to the gallery awaiting
the final whistle.
Asamoah Gyan so much wanted to get in on the act but his
72nd minute header off a Mubarak Wakaso free kick was way wide.
Christian Atsu then got a deserved applause as he was
replaced by Frank Acheampong with 11 minutes left to play.
Paye Tamsir got booked for a tiredly handling the ball after
he was beaten by the sleek Frank Acheampong in added on time.
Andre Ayew almost put the gloss on Ghana’s majestic
performance with an injury time counter attack off an in-direct free kick by
Guinea but the Olympic Marseille man’s final strike was too direct and weak to
The Black Stars however got a golden chance to score a
fourth after Asamoah Gyan was played through clean on goal but his attempt to
go round the on-rushing Yattara earned him a stamp on his thigh and a sending
off for the goalkeeper.
Andre Ayew took the free kick but the referee ended the game
even before the kick could be connected by the waiting Jonathan Mensah.