Ghana began their quest for a spot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a slim victory over Ethiopia on Friday night at the Cape Coast stadium in the opening fixture of the qualifications.
Mubarak Wakaso’s first half belter saved the day for the Black Stars who go top of Group G after Zimbabwe and South Africa drew in their match in Harare.
Black Stars gaffer CK Akonnor named a very strong team to face the Walia Ibex with Andre Ayew, Jordan Ayew, Mubarak Wakaso, Daniel Amartey and Baba Abdul Rahman all starting.
Stade Rennes star Kamaldeen Sulemana was also handed his very first competitive start in Ghana shirt.
Germany-born Daniel-Kofi Kyereh replaced Jeffrey Schlupp in the 28th minute to make his debut for the Black Stars.
Schlupp couldn’t continue after picking up an injury in the game.
Ethiopia goalkeeper Teklemariyam Shanko made a very good save in the 19th minute to deny Ayew’s attempt from close range.
Wakaso got the breakthrough for Ghana ten minutes from the break as his powerful shot from outside the box beat Shanko.
Shanko failed to save the strike as the ball passed through his legs to give Akonnor’s side the lead.
Ethiopia lifted up their performance in the second half and came attacking the Black Stars but failed to create any scoring opportunity in the game.
A double save by substitute goalkeeper Fasil Gebremichael in the 73rd minute prevented Ghana from getting the second of the night following a long drive by Yaw Yeboah and a follow-up by skipper Ayew.
The Walia Ibex with their best chance in the game in the 84th minute after a shot by Shemeket Gugsa from close range was parried away by goalkeeper Richard Ofori.
Ghana take on South Africa in the second round on Monday at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg while Ethiopia host Zimbabwe in the other group encounter.