Ghana joined Egypt, Cote d’Ivoire and Algeria as the fourth team to reach the play-off round of the 2014 World Cup qualifying matches after seeing off 2012 African champions Zambia by a 2-1 scoreline in Kumasi on Friday.
Russia-based striker Abdul Majeed Waris opened scoring for the Black Stars in the first-half with a brilliant header getting on the end of a pin point cross from defender John Boye. Kwadwo Asamoah netted an unlikely effort from 30 yards in the 62nd minute to extend Ghana’s lead and ease supporters’ nerves. Zambia reduced the deficit on the 72nd minute when Nathan Sinkala side-footed home a Reinford Kalaba’s corner-kick to get the Chipolopolo back in contention. Coach Herve Renard’s men pressed for an equaliser but the Ghanaians held on to victory to progress into the play-off round which comes up in October against a yet-to-be-determined team. Zambia’s Emmanuel Mayuka and captain Christopher Katongo troubled Ghana’s defence all through the game. The Zambians started well in the second-half with Fwayo Temboi just a glimmer away from leveling up for the visitors as his pile driver went wide of Fatau Dauda’s goal. The introduction of Michael Essien and Chelsea’s new boy Christian Atsu for Rabiu Mohammed and Mubarak Wakaso respectively helped revive Ghana’s game. The Black Stars ended Group D campaign at the top with 15 points, four more than Zambia, and are well on course for their third successive World Cup appearance.