Match - Sat 8 September, 17:00,
Unimpressive Black Stars win 2-0
Ghana's Christian Atsu
Goals from Christian Atsu and Anthony Annan were enough to save the blushes of the Black Stars, who were very disappointing on the day.
Ghana, however, started the game on a very high note as a series of impressive build up plays resulted in a well-deserved goal by Atsu after just eight minutes.
The Black Stars, however, failed to build up on the momentum generated from the go-ahead goal despite bossing the game throughout the first half.
The Flames could also be credited for a tightened defensive play after conceding an early goal, much to the disappointment of coach Kinnah Phiri.
Ghana failed to create as many chances as they should by virtue of their far superior possession, with key players Kwadwo Asamoah and Andre Ayew failing to hit their expected strides.
The Black Stars went into the locker room at the end of the first half a much troubled side despite pinning the Malawians to the own half.
The second half started at a very sluggish pace, perhaps with the rude shock of the resolute first half display of the Flames still sinking in.
Midfielder Anthony Annan, however, popped up from nowhere to get Ghana’s second with a delightful 20-yard shot, much to the relief of the highly expectant Black Stars fans.
But just like the first half, the star-studded Ghana team failed to capitalise on their lion’s share of possession and the Malawi team gave a bit of a fight and should have punished the Ghanaian defence, who were quite sluggish at times.
The Black Stars huffed and puffed but had nothing to show for it. In the end it was a 2-0 win but a far from convincing performance by the Black Stars against a team they were expected to trounce.
The second leg will be in Blantyre next month for a ticket which is still in the balance, though now slightly tilted towards Ghana.