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Sports News of Saturday, 27 March 2021


Issahaku dazzles as Ghana lose to Uzbekistan

Issahaku scored a free-kick Issahaku scored a free-kick

Ghana B succumbed to a 2-1 away loss to Uzbekistan in an international friendly fixture on Friday.

After Ghana U20 star Abdul Fatawu Issahaku cancelled out Otabek Shukurov's opener with a long-range free-kick, Jaloliddin Masharipov capitalised on a momentary lapse in concentration to make it 2-1 for the hosts at Markaziy Stadium in Namangan.

The game was a preparatory match for Ghana's home-based Black Stars side ahead of the Wafu B Cup of Nations later this year and the Africa Nations Championship next year.

Ghana coach Ibrahim Tanko put faith in Premier League top scorer and Karela United hitman Diawisie Taylor to lead his attack, alongside Issahaku and King Faisal forward Kwame Peprah.

Issahaku, who turned 17 earlier this month, was playing in his first game since recently helping Ghana win the Africa U17 Cup of Nations, where he was adjudged Player of the Tournament. He currently plays club football for Steadfast FC in Ghana’s second tier.

Linked to Swiss side FC Basel, he was initially called up into the senior Black Stars squad for a 2021 Afcon qualifying matches against South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe, before being later dropped to join the B side for the Uzbekistan friendly.

Shukurov put the hosts in front in just the sixth minute, capitalising on goalkeeper Joseph Addo's misplaced pass.

The goal seemingly woke the Black Stars up from their early slumber, as they grew into the game and manage to hold their own for the rest of the first half.

In the 73rd minute, Ghana drew level through Issahaku, whose curling long-range effort was too good for the goalkeeper.

The hosts were back in front just moments later, once again capitalising on another Ghana error as Michael Otou cheaply gave the ball away for Masharipov to make it 2-1.

The match came just a day after Ghana's main team held South Africa to a 1-1 draw away in the Afcon 2021 qualifiers.

Ghana's home-based side are trying to pick themselves up from the disappointment of missing out on the African Nations Championship held in Cameroon earlier this year.

Before the next continental gathering comes around, the Black Stars will hope to go one step further to win the Wafu Zone B Cup, having lost to Senegal in the final two years ago.