Ghana’s Black Stars lost by a lone goal to Kenya in their second Afcon 2019 qualifier after conceding through a Nicholas Opoku own goal in the first half.
Ghana were hoping for maximum points to enable them take control of Group F but the home side proved too strong.
Here is how the players fared over 10.
Didn’t look his regular assured self especially when the ball was played to his feet. The Harambee Stars first half strategy to play long balls over the top had him scrambling in a nervous one on one sequence against Olunga which he eventually emerged from unscathed.
Could do little to prevent the goal.
Guilty of giving the ball away when Ghana attempted to build attacks from the back. Was caught out of position a few times and was partly the reason the Black Stars offered nothing on the right hand side.
Was often slow to deal with the threat of Olunga and his communication with defense partner Nicholas Opoku left much to be desired. His younger compatriot looked to him for guidance and assurance throughout the game but he was too busy trying to sort himself out in what was not his most convincing performance. Attempted to aid in moving the ball up field as Ghana went in search of an equalizer.
Fumbled what looked like a harmless cross from Omondi in the 39th minute to hand Kenya the lead after some nervous defending as he attempted to clear the ball from danger .Managed to compose himself and steer clear of more individual errors for the rest of the game.
Had a first half to forget as Ovella consistently gave him the run around, leading to a number of good goal scoring opportunities for the home side.
Looked to make himself useful in dead ball situations as an orchestrator as one of such efforts in the 52nd minute from the base line was almost converted into a goal by Acquah.
Looked uncomfortable operating at left back with his weaker foot all game and never got into a rhythm.
Afriyie Aquah: 7
One of Ghana’s better performers on the day as he went about his duties in a tidy manner. Found space and time to even link up with Kwadwo Asamoah as Ghana chased an equalizer late in the game with a shot that drew a save from Kenyan goalkeeper Matasi.
Almost seemed to be hiding alongside his midfield partner and did not display the surety in possession and the passing technique that has characterized his early days with the national team. Rightly hooked for the more experienced Harrison Afful in the second half.
Christian Atsu: 5
All of Ghana’s early game action came through him and he was guilty of poor delivery time and again. He either failed to get beyond his marker or crossed into the waiting arms of Matasi.
His only worthwhile contribution came in the 47th minute as he fizzed past his marker and delivered his first meaningful cross into the 6 yard box but failed to find a connection.
Usually looked upon as a go to guy in tough situations, he was a huge let down especially with his final quality, shocking how he lasted ninety minutes
Edwin Gyasi: 4
Failed to make use of his pace and skill down the right hand side and strangely looked to drift infield whenever the Black Stars attacked. Contributed nothing on the day and was sacrificed early for Dwamena as Ghana looked to add numbers to the attack.
Played in an advanced role where he had a tame shot parried in the early exchanges, looked lost in his role as a supporting striker until the point where the the tactics allowed him to slot back into his natural midfield role.
Managed to put Majeed Waris through with a pass that caused mayhem and eventually resulted in a red card in a dangerous position that he took himself straight into the wall.
His disguised pass to Dwamena was as close as Ghana got on the day but the latter scuffed his effort.
Had an average performance by his lofty standards.
Put himself about well and fetched Ghana’s first attempt at goal with a snap shot but was well marshaled by the Kenyan centre backs. Was given little space and largely struggled with the height and physicality of the Kenyans.
Was given ample time to impact the game but was guilty of missing some of Ghana’s best opportunities.
He failed to shake off his markers on most occasions and had to struggle to get shots away. Link up play with his strike partner was non-existent.
His arrival came with it some calm and organization for the Black Stars as he looked to spur on his teammates in a difficult phase of the match.
Did not produce fireworks after his much anticipated return to the team, but with just a few minutes under his belt his passes into the final third allowed Ghana to pile pressure on the opponent’s defense.
A few pass exchange sequences with Partey will have the coaching staff wondering about whether a future pairing is the way to go in subsequent matches.