Joana Janet Arries-Tagoe

Hard work they say pays and that’s exactly what Sudan did yesterday at the Al Hilal Stadium as Mohammed Abdel Raman scored in injury time to not only deny Ghana an early qualification to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations tournament, but also gift the Black Stars their first ever defeat in the campaign.

Despite coming back very strong in the second stanza with the Black Stars having their eyes firmly gripped on qualification with two matches to spare, that dream became too all of a sudden as Rahman outpaced John Boye to head home the only goal of the match in Omdurman, taking Sudan to six points in Group C.

Prior to their 0-1 loss on Wednesday afternoon, the Black Stars had gone three matches with three wins and without conceding a single goal.

The Sudanese were on top of issues right from the blast of the whistle, pushing enough men behind the ball in most situations. On the other hand, the Black Stars of Ghana could not muster a single attempt at goal in the first half.

The Black Stars returned from the break with a different strategy having used the entire first stanza to study the ship. Jordan Ayew came close in the 52nd minute as he tried a shot from outside the goal area, but the Sudanese goalkeeper read the situation very well and saved his side.

Mubarak Wakaso also forced a save from the Sudanese goalie with a rasping effort from a freekick on the hour mark.

Ahmed Hamid Al-Tash’s half turn strike in the 75th minute missed the target by a whisker. Ghana came close again in the dying minute of the game but, Jordan Ayew’s well taken free kick could not go past the agile Sudanese goalkeeper.

Abdel Rahman finally broke the deadlock of the game with few seconds to end the game as he connected Ramadan Agab’s cross into the eighteen yard box.

Ghana have two more games to play against South Africa and Sao Tome at home on March 22 and 30th, 2021 respectively to complete their qualification campaign.