Ghana’s World Cup Hopes all but Over
Ghana’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia are all but over after they were held to a 0-0 draw by Uganda in Kampala in a game marred by poor refereeing decisions.
Saturday’s clash was billed as a make-or-break for the World Cup hopes for both sides, with Uganda two points behind Egypt and Ghana a further two back.
However, a number of missed chances from both sides and poor officiating meant neither side could find a breakthrough.
Ghana had two legitimate goals disallowed and had a strong penalty appeal waved away by the referee
The Pharaohs can now clinch a spot at next year’s World Cup with a win over Congo on Sunday, opening up an unassailable four-point lead at the top of the group.
With Ghana needing to win to stand any chance of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and with several key players missing, Kwesi Appiah went with a new look squad for today’s game.
Appiah handed an international debut to Malmo star Kingsley Sarfo while Richmond Boakye-Yiadom who’s been in stunning form for SuperLiga team Red Star Belgrade, started up front with captain Asamoah Gyan out with an injury.
Christian Atsu, Harrison Afful and Jonathan Mensah also missed the trip while Jordan and Andre Ayew were dropped from the squad.
Uganda who had beaten the Egyptians in Kampala before losing in Alexandria during the previous international break, started the game brightly.
Okwi was a livewire down the right for the Cranes asking a number of questions of the Ghanaian defence.
Despite the pressure from the Ugandans, it was Ghana who almost took the lead through Thomas Partey, who had scored four times in his last two games for Ghana.
Richard Ofori got a hand to a cross releasing his side on a counter that ended with Partey firing just wide.
The Black Stars had a goal wrongly ruled out for offside when Daniel Amartey, who captained the side, headed home from a free-kick, only for the linesman’s flag to go up.
It was the Black Stars who started the second half stronger but were unable to create any clear-cut chances.
Uganda should have taken the lead as a fantastic cross found the head of Nsibambi who headed wide from about five yards out.
They were almost made to rue that miss as Frank Acheampong was barged over in the Ugandan box in what looked like a clear penalty shout but the referee waved the appeals away.
Chances were few and far between for the rest of the game with both sides restricted to shots from range which barely threatened either keeper.
The Black Stars had the ball in the net again with seconds to play but the goal was ruled out, wrongly again, for offside sparking a fracas after the final which came almost immediately after.
Ghana will now face a nervous wait as Egypt host Congo on Sunday, where a draw will end the team’s chances of making it to Russia.