MALABO — Ghana have booked their spot in the semi-finals of this year’s African Cup of Nations after a comfortable 3-0 defeat over Guinea in Malabo yesterday evening.
The Black Stars took the lead as early as the third minute after a great run down the left found Andre Ayew who held up the ball well before backheeling to an un-marked Christian Atsu who slotted home from close range.
Idrissa Sylla was the dangerman for Guinea upfront, yet the forward’s long-range effort on 14 trickled wide before failing to trouble Ghana’s goalkeeper Naby Yattara with a tame effort three minutes later.
Avram Grant’s charges had their tails up following their early goal, but failed to take their opportunities after wasting two free-kicks in quick succession.
Despite edging the possession stats in the first half, Guinea had nothing to show for their efforts, and were dealt a sucker punch just one minute before the break as a defensive blunder by Baissama Sankoh who failed to clear a back-pass allowed Ghanian striker Kwesi Appiah to latch onto a loose ball and slot home to double his side’s lead.
Guinea began the second half needing a goal, and came close on 47 minutes as captain Ibrahima Traoré connected with Fodé Camara’s cross, but he could not direct his header with any precision goalwards.
Mubarak Wakaso, an ever-present figure in Ghana’s midfield, then had two chances of his own, yet struck both wide of the target as Ghana looked to increase their lead.
And that it did, in fine style as Atsu breezed past his marker on the right before unleashing an unstoppable left-footed strike from outside the box to hand his side a 3-0 lead.
Skipper Asamoah Gyan was keen to get his name on the scoresheet as well, but couldn’t direct two powerful headers in quick succession on target.
Even with their lead, Ghana continued to pile forward, as Abdoulaye Cissé was called upon to clear the danger and prevent his side from conceding a fourth.
The match turned ugly in the dying stages as Guinea goalkeeper Naby Yattara rushed out towards an oncoming Gyan, catching him squarely with a studs-up challenge for which he saw red.