Ghana cruise past Guinea to confirm a fifth consecutive AFCON semi-final

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A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how my homeland wouldn’t win AFCON 2015 due to captain Asamoah Gyan and other key players being missed and manager Avram Grant switching the team formation to a 3-5-2. Since then, they beat Algeria 1-0 in the last minute thanks to a goal from Gyan and scored two goals in 10 minutes to beat South Africa 2-1. These results allowed Ghana to win the ‘Group of Death’ and face Guinea in the quarter-finals.

In the fourth minute, forward Kwesi Appiah, making his first start for the Black Stars, came down the left flank into the box and passed it to midfielder Andre Ayew, who played a brilliant back heel to winger Christian Atsu, and he knocked the ball in for the opening goal of the match. In typical Ghana fashion after Atsu scored the goal, he led his teammates to the corner of the pitch and led them in introducing a new dance. A few minutes later, the Elephants had a chance to equalize with a free-kick into the box but midfielder Ibrahima Traore got the shot all wrong as the ball ended up hitting the side netting. The game began to move at a quicker pace as both teams attempted to use their speed on each other and catch an opponent out of position.

The Black Stars could’ve had a bigger lead earlier in the match but they didn’t take advantage of the set-pieces they had in close range during the 23rd and 25th minute. Guinea’s goalkeeper Naby-Moussa Yattara received the first yellow card of the match in the 33rd minute when his side won a free-kick. Atsu picked up the ball to take the free-kick from going on and he was pushed to the ground by Yattara. The Elephants had another chance in the 41st minute when Traore played a one-two with striker Idrissa Sylla but central defender John Boye sniffed out the potential danger and cleared the ball. As half-time drew closer, central defender Baissama Sankoh tried to clear the ball out of his area but he made a poor attempt and Appiah was there to take advantage and took the ball then scored via a nutmeg on Yattara to put the Black Stars up 2-0.

With 45 minutes left in the game, Ghana hoped to keep the streak going of never losing to Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations. In their previous battles, the two nations drew twice and the Elephants lost three times. At the start of the second half, Sylla was subbed out due to injury and was replaced by Mohamed Yattara. In the 56th minute midfielder Kevin Constant was replaced by Naby Deco Keita and he made an impact immediately as he linked up with Traore and drew a foul near the outside of the 18-yard-box. But selfishly once again, Traore decided to shoot for a goal and another free-kick opportunity was wasted. Moments later, Atsu put the nail in the coffin with the goal of the tournament when Wakaso Mubarak delivered a neat pass to him and the Everton player took two quick steps and fired a long shot that curled into the far post.

Ghana now look like strong contenders to hoist the trophy at the end of the tournament after earning a fifth consecutive semi-final appearance at the African Cup of Nations.

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