Black Stars secure win against Angola but is it a good start for Chris?

Estimated read time 4 min read

Ghana Black Stars bailed themselves out yesterday in the dying minutes of the game with Antione Semenyo doing the unthinkable but expected deep into second-half injury time. Ghana got all three points in front of a packed Baba Yara Stadium fans but what is next and was it the best start Chris Hughton needed?

Heading into the game, many did not doubt the quality of the team nor the ability of the coach to get the best from his men. But after a barren 45 minutes of football, Ghana was beginning to look desperate. Fail to win and the packed stadium will be disappointed.

Kumasi never disappoints when it comes to the Black Stars, even in training it is always a fan affair as was witnessed by the numbers that turned out for their training session prior to the match.

As the one calling the shots for the first joining the team as head coach last month, Chris Hughton had some hard decisions to make. One of that was when he continued to stick with World Cup standout goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi despite the return of Jojo Wollacott. The second such call was the decision to drop the skipper of the side Andre Ayew. Both stayed on the bench for the total duration of the match.

Black Stars celebrate Antoine Semenyo's late winner against Angola.

Angola was not the biggest of threats that Ghana would have been wary of but the 117th FIFA-ranked team went into the match with the same number of points as Ghana after two matches. So there was a need for greater respect for them. That was firmly acknowledged by Chris Hughton ahead of the game.

“I have studied them in their last five, six, seven games. They are technically a very good team and obviously with Portuguese influence and a lot of good technical players so I am in no doubt that they are strong and tough opposition so we have to plan for that as we will do for any opposition,” he said of Angola.

Ghana controlled the first half but could not put any strike beyond the reach of Adilson Cipriano da Cruz (Neblú), the star man of the Angola team in the match in Kumasi. The second was a somewhat even affair in midfield as the 50/50 balls went either way. Angola had grown in confidence having held through the first stanza of the game unbreached.

And as the clock ticked down, out came Antoine Semenyo who replaced Inaki Williams with nearly 20 minutes to play breaking the Hearts of the Angolans. He made it a big evening for the Ghanaians who watched on TV and most especially those who were in the stadium. But what is next? Was it the perfect start the former Tottenham coach wanted?

Well, all said and done the three points are what actually matter but the fans would want it done better. There won’t always be the fortune of having the gods of late goals on the team’s side so doing it better saves everyone from anxiety.

Next, the coach is to prepare his team for the second leg on Monday. It won’t be an easy outing as was testified in Kumasi. And with Angola knowing fully well that they can match the Stars when they push themselves, it will be a huge test.

But the questions that we all will ask are will Chris stick with his team selection in the first leg? Will he alter it and will he ask them to be adventurous or he will ask them to stick together and defend? We shall see what next but in fairness, Chris got the job done no matter how ugly it was. Beauty is important but the results are the ultimate.

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