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Black Stars end World Cup qualifying campaign


Edwin Gyasi’s first Ghana goal cancelled out Shikabala’s opener as the Black Stars ended their World Cup qualifying campaign with a draw against Egypt. The Pharaohs, who qualified for next summer’s showpiece in Russia with victory over Congo-Brazzaville, were without Mohamed Salah for their final qualifier, but took the lead in the 62nd minute of a scrappy contest.

ESPN—Shikabala was picked out by Trezeguet before sending a superb left-footed strike past Richard Ofori against the run of play, with Ghana having bossed much of the contest to that point. Indeed, Wakaso Mubarak forced Sherif Ekramy into a save early on, while the Black Stars felt they were denied a penalty in the 20th minute when the Egyptian goalkeeper brought down Raphael Dwamena. However, their advantage was shortlived, as Netherlands-born Gyasi – one of several new faces introduced to the national side during Kwesi Appiah’s second tenure – equalised three minutes later.

The forward beat Ekramy with a deflected effort from outside the area, but the stopper made amends at the death when he denied Richard Boakye from close range. It was the Aalesund FK hitman’s first international goal, and came in only his second international, with the 26-year-old having made his debut in the Black Stars’ 5-1 victory over the Congolese in September. The Black Stars were without several key men as Appiah continues his rebuild of the side, with the Ayew brothers not invited by the coach and Christian Atsu and Asamoah Gyan absent through injury.

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Gyasi’s goal means Ghana end the qualifying campaign third in Group E on seven points, six behind Egypt who won four of their six qualifiers. In the group’s other fixture, Uganda were held 1-1 in Brazzaville to end their encouraging qualifying campaign in low-key fashion. Marvin Baudry put Congo ahead after 10 minutes later, but their lead was to last for little over a minute, as Milton Karisa fired into the top corner. The Cranes, who were being overseen by interim coach Moses Basena following the departure of Milutin Sredojevic earlier this year, end the campaign second on nine points, with Congo bottom of the pile on two points.

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