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Soccer News of Sunday, 18 November 2007

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Ghana cruises to finals of Four Nation tourney

Accra, Nov 18, GNA - Ghana's Black Stars cruised to the finals of the Zenith Four Nations Tourney courtesy a 2-0 thumping of the Hawks of Togo in their game played at the upgraded Ohene Djan Stadium, Accra on Sunday.

The Stars who were playing for first time in front of the home fans for over nearly two years now, started the slowly but managed to grab all three points with goals from Baffour Gyan and Laryea Kingston.

In front of the crowd made up of nearly the 40, 000 capacity arena, the Stars made early incursions at goal with Kingston bringing the fans to their feet when he tore away from the Togolese defence to box his way around De Souga Komi and moved in a manner that drew Mathew Amoah and Junior Agogo into the frail.

With the effort wasted, Togo took charge and attacked the Ghanaian defence but a move initiated by Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor was well handled by goalkeeper Richard Kingston, a little after 10 minutes into the duel.

With scanty chances and action centered at the midfield, Agogo warmed himself into the heart of the fans when he profited from a Togolese defensive mix up to race beyond his markers but his shot missed target narrowly just at the half hour mark.

With the clock ticking to recess, Ghana got the closest to scoring in a goal mouth scramble that ensured the Togolese did a great deal of work to keep the scores unchanged.

Ghana resumed the second half better with creative Sulley Muntari sending clear signals of their intention with a narrow miss. Eight minutes on, Baffour Gyan who replaced Amoah from the recess sent the crowd chanting when he finished off a beautiful move from Agogo's set up.

Muntari picked up Agogo from the left flank, with the latter taking a quick turn to set clear Gyan who had just returned to the team since last year.

Gyan took his chances with the ball deflecting off the lower side of the post before rolling into the net for the first goal.

Togo was to launch a retaliation led by the Arsenal's ace- Adebayor who curled a perfect dead ball just inches away from Ghana's penalty box in a manner that stretched goalkeeper Kingson to his elastic limit on the 63rd minute.

The tide from then turned in favour of Ghana and after Togo had managed to survive an invasion that should have rewarded skipper Stephen Appiah, Kingston grabbed the second goal.

The skilful player delivered a masterpiece of a free-kick that left Togolese goalkeeper Mensah Ceduic exposed after an advancing Munatri was fouled with only fifteen minutes to go.

Ghana's trainer, Claude Le Roy and his Togolese counterpart, Steven Keshi effected several changes but that could not alter the result.

Lineup: Kingson; John Paintsil, Kofi Amponsah, John Mensah/Anthony Annan, Sarpei; Michael Essien, Laryea Kingston/Andre Ayew, Stephen Appiah(cpt)/Moses Narh, Sulley Muntari; Mathew Amoah/Baffour Gyan, Junior Agogo