Ghana’s Black Stars reached the last four of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations with a lone goal victory over hosts Angola on Sunday in Luanda.
Striker Asamoah Gyan scored the only goal of the match in the first half as the Ghanaians cut short the campaign of the host nation.
The Palancas Negras unsettled the Black Stars with dominance in possession in response to the loud cheers and chants from their teeming fans, who flooded almost every seat at the stadia.
The Ghanaians weathered the storm but lateral defenders Samuel Inkoom at the right and Hans Adu Sarpei appeared jittery allowing petit midfielder Djalma Campos threats at goal.
On the quarter-hour mark, the roaring stadium went dead as the Black Stars, four-time winners of the biennial competition struck the opener. Playmaker Kwadwo Asamoah laid a perfect long pass towards the Angolan goal area which located Asamoah Gyan, who outpaced captain Alonso Carlos “Kali” in a close chase before firing into the right corner of the net, with Angola goalie Fernandes Carlos’ elastic-limit stretch not enough to stop the ball.
Gyan, scorer of the fastest goal at the Germany 2006 FIFA World Cup celebrated with finger plastered on his lip, signifying silence.
The crowd roared on and the Palancas Negras responded with several attacks led by Djalma who proved a tough customer for his markers, leaving them with no option than fouling him.
On 29 minutes, Manucho was robbed off the equalizer by the Black Stars veteran goalkeeper Richard Kingson, as the Wigan goalie saved his goalbound header. Djalma’s surging runs on the right proved positive but they lacked the cutting edge upfront.
Five minutes on, Ghana goalie Kingson surprisingly dropped his vast experience to the cleaners for a basic offence of holding unto the ball for a long time, leading to an indirect free-kick, which Flavio blasted wide to his relief.
The Black Stars maintained hold of their thin lead at half time thanks Manucho’s wide kick from close range through an ensuing goalmouth scramble.
Angola coach Jose Manuel introduced local hero Ricardo Job in the second half, and the Petro Atletico midfielder returned the confidence with surging runs from the left, as the hosts continued their search for the equalizer.
The Angolans resorted to circuit passes after the long balls to Flavio and Manucho were curtailed by the Ghanaian defense.
As the clock ticked on, the Angolan fans never lost hope cheering on but their players failed to give them what they were expecting – the equalizer.
Burly defender shattered the hopes of the home fans by scooping Kali’s kick which was zooming into the net, completing ending the campaign of the hosts.
Ghana midfielder Asamoah was named the Orange man-of-the-match whilst Angolan midfielder Fernando Costa “Chara” the Samsung Fair Play award.