Ghana returned to winning ways with a 1-0 victory over Nicaragua at the Francisco Artes Carrasco Stadium in Lorca, Spain on Tuesday.
WHAT HAPPENED? Issahaku Fatawu settled the match in the 35th minute when he fired in a left-footed stunner inside the box that the Nicaragua goalkeeper was unable to keep out.
In what was a one-sided match, Otto Addo made eight changes to the team that lost 3-0 to Brazil on Friday with Daniel Amartey, Iddrisu Baba and Mohammed Kudus the only survivors. There were starts for Inaki Williams, Mohammed Salisu, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Gideon Mensah and goalkeeper Richard Ofori among others.
The Black Stars started quickly with Williams, who began upfront, linking well with Kudus, who played just behind. The two combined on numerous occasions, especially in the second half when the Athletic Bilbao man missed from close range before Kudus started running the show.
The Ajax midfielder missed a sitter in the 63rd minute and then saw the keeper save his shot when through on goal 12 minutes later. Kudus thought he had scored Ghana’s second when he headed in Williams’ lofted pass but he was flagged offside two minutes from time.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Ghana looked a completely different side to the one that were subdued by Brazil in the first half on Friday as they poured forward using the pace of Williams and the vision of Kudus to cause Nicaragua problems. However, the victory, coming against a side ranked 139th in the world, is just their second in six matches, having fallen to Japan, Chile and Brazil in between, while drawing with the Central African Republic.
ALL EYES ON: Kudus was among a few players who came out of the Brazil match with some credit and he showed why he is highly rated by running the show although he was unlucky not to score. The midfielder, who has scored six goals in five games for Ajax, had three clear chances but was denied by the goalkeeper and the offside flag.
THE VERDICT: Ghana will need to work on their finishing before heading to the World Cup given the numerous chances they wasted in a match they should have won comfortably. The link-up between Kudus and Williams should provide fans with reason for optimism as they looked comfortable around each other even though it was the first time they were playing together.
WHAT NEXT FOR GHANA? The West Africans have a date with Switzerland on November 17 in what will provide them with an idea of how prepared they will be for the World Cup. Ghana will then begin their World Cup campaign on November 24 when they face Portugal before South Korea (November 28) and Uruguay (December 2) come calling.