Saturday Sep 09, 2017. 22:31
Ghana coach Maxwell Konadu declared his delight at defeating Gambia in their 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations opener in Elmina on Saturday.
The Black Stars won in controversial circumstances, with Vincent Atinga scoring a 95th minute penalty to see the tournament hosts prevail 1-0 and advance into the group stage.
It may not have been the most convincing performance from Ghana, but Konadu insists it was a good start and provides a foundation for his team to build on.
“We are always slow starters in tournaments but today I’m happy with our start, especially in the first half. It wasn’t easy but the players continued to push for the winner, and we got it in the last minute,” said Konadu after the match.
“It’s not easy to start a tournament in front of your support, so I must congratulate the players for a wonderful job done. It was very difficult but we manage to sail through.”
Ghana take up position 1 in Group 1 and will play their first second round match on September 14.
In the other match of the day which saw Senegal scraped through to the group stages 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations after beating Liberia 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out after 90 minutes ended goalless at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium
Senegal started like a house on fire and almost opened the scoring in the second minute when a beautiful pass from Assane Mbodj slipped Amadou Dia Ndiaye through on goal, but his ten-yard effort struck the outside of the post.
Liberia, despite starting the match slowly, found their footing and began taking the ascendancy.
In the 17th minute Liberia came within inches of taking the lead when Marcus Macauley met a cross from the right with a strong header, but his effort came off the crossbar and the follow-up attempt was pushed over the target by Christopher Jackson.
The rest of the half produced very little in terms of goalmouth action with both teams making some poor decision making in the final third.
Senegal, though, did end the more confident of the two sides with a 22-yard shot from Assane Mbodj going inches wide in the 43rd minute.
The half ended 0-0.
Liberia started the second half positively with Terrence Tisdell driving into the box from the left flank immediately after the restart, but his powerful ten-yard shot struck the side-netting.
Liberia were at it again in the 57th minute when Marcus Macauley tried his luck from an acute angle on the right-side of the box, but his attempt went narrowly over the target.
Senegal’s first real chance of the second half came in the 64th minute courtesy of a well-struck 24-yard free-kick from Jean Remi Bocande, but his effort was brilliantly saved by the Liberian keeper.
Neither side created any significant chances in front of goal following that as the match ended goalless and went into the dreaded penalty shoot-out which Senegal won 5-4.