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Sports News of Sunday, 16 November 2003

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Ghana 5 Somalia 0

Somalia 0-5 Ghana in Accra, Ghana
GHA: 25,56 Nana Arhin Duah, 69,89 Isaac Boakye, 82 Asamoah Gyan

Accra, Nov. 16, GNA - The senior national team, the Black Stars, gave Ghanaians a hope for the future by bashing war ravage Somalia 5-0 to take a giant step towards the group stages of the 2006 World Cup qualifiers in the first of their two legged affair played at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.

The second encounter, which technically speaking will be Ghana's home match has been scheduled for the Kumasi Sports Stadium this Wednesday. FIFA moved both legs to Ghana because of the volatile political situation in Somalia that could not guarantee the safety of the Ghanaians.

After a wrong rendition of the Somali national anthem which was greeted with boos by the vociferous Ghanaian fans was rectified after a Somali official had alerted those in the control room, the Stars kicked off in earnest to redeem their sunken image.

Clad in a new "Puma" outfit -yellow shirt over black shorts- the Stares moved into top gear from the start but had to wait till the 25th-minute to find an antidote to the defensive minded Somalis who tested goalkeeper Sammy Adjei only twice in the entire 90 minutes of play.

In fact, it took the visitors close to 30 minutes to cross the centerline and when they did, their lone striker Isse Aden Abshir was dispossessed of the ball by the "less busy" Ghanaian defenders.

Nana Arhin-Dua brought the fans to their feet in the 25th minute when he rose to nod home the opener from a Bernard Don Bortey's pinpoint cross.

And in spite of the goal, the Somalis were resolute in defense and their young goalie Abdulkadir Shek Osman, who took several knocks from aerial tussles, fought hard to avoid more goals.

But the defensive network of the visitors appeared to have broken down after recess when the Ghanaians struck four more times to gladden the hearts of the fans.

After seeing his goal-bound header scooped off the goal line in the 56th minute, Arhin-Duah dived to finish off a Bortey's lob a few seconds later to raise the tally to two.

Those two goals galvanized the Stars for a goal harvest as linchpin Michael Essein tugged the team forward and Bortey too sparkled from the wings with his characteristics in-swingers.

Former Kotoko goal monger, Isaac Boakye who now plies his trade in Germany, scored a classic third goal with a left footer as the ball hit beneath the cross bar before settling into the net. It was a beautiful move initiated by the midfield general Essien, who dummied the defenders and back heeled the ball for Boakye to finish off in the 69th minute.

Coach Ralf Zumdick sent in Lawrence Adjei and debutant Asamoah Gyan for Aziz Ansah and Arhin-Dua in the last quarter of the game and later Yakubu for skipper Appiah who had his head bandaged early in the match after taking a knock in the third minute.

Minutes after coming on, Gyan tapped in Yakubu's goal-bound shot while Boakye scored a brilliant personal second and the fifth for Ghana.

Line Up (Ghana): Sammy Adjei, Aziz Ansah/Lawrence Adjei, Addoquaye Pappoe, John Mensah, Samuel Osei-Kuffour, Michael Essien, Bernard Don Bortey, Hamza Mohamed, Nana Arhin-Duah/ Asamoah Gyan, Isaac Boakye, Stephen Appiah/ Yakubu Abubakari

Somalia: Abdulkadir Shek Osma, Yussif Ali Egal, Mohamed Abdulai Muhudin, Hussein Meigag Mohamed /Abdifitah Mohamed Said, Abdulusis Salad Awale, Musdaf Hassan Omar, Osman Omar Wakil, Isse Aden Abghir, Yussif Ali Nir, Mohamed Abdulai Shek/ Abdulwahid Abdi Farah, Abdul Kadir Omar Ibrahim