• Mohammed Kudus (20) appears to be in control against a Central African Republic opponent
• Mohammed Kudus (20) appears to be in control against a Central African Republic opponent

The Black Stars fought hard to seal qualification for the next African Cup of Nations (AFCON), as they tamed the Wild Beasts from the Central Africa Republic 2-1 in a final qualifier at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, yesterday.

By the victory, Ghana topped Group E with 12 points.

In June, the two countries met but it ended in a one-all draw at the Estadio 11 de Novembro in Angola.

Expectation was high as both teams wrapped up their 2023 AFCON qualifiers with Ghana needing a point to scale through.

While Ghana was eyeing her first win over the Central Africans, the Wild Beasts eyed an upset to make history with a first AFCON qualification.

As a result, they piled pressure on the Ghanaians, and secured an early corner in the sixth minute which was wasted.

The visitors battled fiercely, knowing that only a win can take them to the ‘Promised Land.’

In fact, the midfield of the Ghana team appeared non-existent, allowing the visitors to dictate the pace.

The visitors were ruthless in their attack and in the 17th minute, Karl Namnganda fired a rocket from 25 yards that forced goal keeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi to stretch to parry the ball over the bar for a second corner that was also wasted.

That gingered the Wild Beasts, who used their physique to bull­doze their ways through with as Amos Youga and Peter Gunari drove the Wild Beasts forward in search of the opener.

The visitors finally took the lead when Godwin Koyalipou coolly placed the ball into the net after receiving a pass from the midfield in the 26th minute.

 But, the Black Stars were not perturbed. They accepted the chal­lenge and pressed on.

Captain Jordan Ayew was brought down outside the box for a welcome freekick for the under pressure Ghana side.

Kudus Mohammed set the stadium alight with a wonderful strike that zoomed straight into the net in the 42nd minute to cancel the deficit.

The second half saw both coun­tries demonstrating ruggedness with Ghana keeping the goal are of the visitors boiling as several crosses were floated into the area to find the leader.

Despite that early second half control, it was the Beasts that threatened in the 55th minute, as Beasts as Karl Namnganda watched in awe as his pile driver went wide.

Coach Chris Hughton brought on Ernest Nuamah, Gideon Men­sah and Antoine Semenyo to beef up the squad.

At this juncture, the game be­came a ding-dong affair.

But, as all pointed to a draw, substitute Ernest Nuamah set the stadium agog when Antoine Semenyo sets him up in the box in the 86th minute to coolly tap home the leader.

Antoine Semenyo could have added his name to the score sheet but his grounder hit the post in the second minute of the five minutes added-on time.