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Sports News of Sunday, 22 June 2003

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Black Stars draw 1-1 with Cranes of Uganda

Ghana's Black Stars drew 1-1 with the Cranes of Uganda in a tough second leg match of the 24th African Cup of Nations qualifier played at the Kumasi Sports Stadium on Sunday.

The Stars failed to impress in the game and allowed the visitors to dictate the pace soon after the referee had whistled for hostilities to begin.

The Ghanaians however earned a corner kick in the third minute but it was wasted and two minutes later, Daniel Edusei's shot was saved brilliantly by Ugada's goalkeeper Ibrahim Mugisha.

The Ugandans countered and made series of incursions into the half of the Stars and won a corner kick in the 16th minute and Assani Bajaba out-jumped the defence of the Stars and nodded the ball to the blind side of goalkeeper Edward Ansah. Uganda 0ne, Ghana nil and everybody was stunned.

The Stars accepted the challenge and pinned the visitors to their half but could not penetrate the packed defence of their adversaries as skipper Ibrahim Sakajja and his charges held sway.

In the 37th minute, Sakajja, was shown the yellow card for a serious foul on skipper Stephen Appiah who was at an advantageous position and had the goal on sight. Appiah floated the resultant kick but Sammuel Osei Kuffuor headed over the top.

Appiah was on hand again in the 45th minute as his terrific shot hit the cross bar and bounced back into play.

Back from the break, the die-hard soccer fans who could not withstand the way the Stars were playing, hurled insults and boos at coach Bukhard Ziesse and made insinuations at him to make substitutions.

The coach obliged the request of the fans as Derek Boateng took over from Emmanuel Pappoe while Lawrence Aidoo also came in for Godfrey Aduobe in the 65th and 67th minutes respectively to oil the attacking machinery of the Stars.

Uganda also brought in Mohamad Isubuga in the 74th minute as the pressure remained on the Stars to probe for the equaliser.

As the Ghanaians surged forward in search of the evener, they exposed their rear and the Ugandans nearly had a second goal in the 76th minute but goalkeeper Ansah made mincemeat of substitute Isubuga's shot.

Coach Ziesse exhausted his substitution with William Tierro taking over from Osei Kuffuor in the 77th minute.

The substitutions favoured the Black Stars as they controlled the game but aimless passes and lack of cohesion denied them the equaliser until the 84th minute when Charles Amoah headed home a cross from Augustine Arhinful to the relief of the spectators.

Although the result leaves the Cranes top of Group 13, they cannot go through because whatever the result of Rwanda's match against Ghana is in two weeks time the points awarded will eliminate them.

Line-up: Ghana: Edward Ansah, Stephen Appiah, Godfrey Aduobe /Lawrence Aidoo, Samuel Osei Kuffuor/William Tierro, Micheal Asante, Kofi Amponsah, Emmanuel Pappoe/Dereck Boateng, Daniel Edusei, Charles Amoah, Augustine Arhinful, Yakubu Abubakari.

CAN qualifying Group 13

 TEAM    W  D  L  F  A   GD  Pts 
Uganda 1 2 1 2 2 0 5
Ghana 1 1 1 5 4 1 4
Rwanda 1 1 1 3 4 -1 4

Results and Fixtures:

08/09/02: Uganda 1-0 Ghana
13/10/02: Ghana 4-2 Rwanda
29/03/03: Rwanda 0-0 Uganda
07/06/03: Uganda 0-1 Rwanda
20-22/06/03 Ghana 1-1 Uganda
04-06/07/03: Rwanda v Ghana