Sports News of Saturday, 13 October 2012
Ghana beat Malawi 1-0 in Lilongwe on Saturday to become the first team to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations alongside hosts South Africa. Midfielder Afriyie Acquah, making his first competitive start for the senior team put the Black Stars in front in the 3rd minute to secure Ghana a fifth consecutive Nations Cup appearance since 2004
The win handed the Black Stars a 3-0 aggregate victory after winning the first leg in Accra 2-0.
Despite the physical nature of the game, the fixture passed without a single booking from referee Abdulrahman Khalid? with Ghana's Christian Atsu, one of the worst victims of the hard challenges.
Ghana took the lead inside three minutes after Asamoah Gyan's free-kick was palmed for a corner.
Acquah was on hand at the near post to connect Andre Ayew's pass into the box from the resulting set-play as the Parma player registered his debut senior goal.
Though falling back so early in the game, Malawi were back in the mix when their best chance in the opening exchanges saw Adam Kwarasey tipping over Joseph Kamwendo shot from outside the box.
Ghana held onto their solitary lead to end the half.
Malawi returned from the break much stronger but Ghana's efficient play and good defending by from John Paintsil, Harrison Afful, John Boye, Isaac Vorsah and Anthony Annan ensured that Kwarasey kept another clean sheet over both legs.
After the interval, Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah made his first substitution when he took off goalscorer, Acquah for debutant, Mubarak Wakaso.
He followed up with the introduction of another debutant, Daniel Nii Adjei for Andre Ayew before Abdul Majeed Warris came on for the hardworking Rabiu Mohammed.
Starting line-up: Adam Kwarasey, John Paintsil, Harrison Afful, John Boye, Isaac Vorsah, Anthony Annan, Afriyie Acquah/Mubarak Wakaso, Christian Atsu, Rabiu Mohammed/Abdul Majeed Warris, Andre Ayew/Daniel Nii Adjei, Asamoah Gyan.
Reserves: Fatau Dauda, David Addy, Jonathan Mensah, Solomon Asante