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Soccer News of Sunday, 4 May 2008

Source: GNA

Stars cruise past Hawks

Accra, May 4, GNA - Ghana's Black Stars moved a step closer to the final round of the African Nation Championships qualifiers courtesy a 2-0 victory over the Hawks of Togo in the first round first leg clash on Sunday at the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium.

A goal in each half from leading marksman on the local scene Eric Bekoe and defender John Boye gave the Stars a well deserved victory over the Hawks, who failed to impress.

The Stars, who displayed signs of a goal rout following their display in the early minutes had to wait till for 29 minute before Bekoe broke the deadlock from the spot after Togolese defender Kodjo Ametepe had handled the ball in the box. Prior to that, Ekow Benson had been the most influential player in the Stars set up with his surging runs upfront creating some problems for the Hawks' rear.

Twice in the 12th and 22nd minute, Benson came close but his curling free kicks missed the target narrowly. The Togolese goalkeeper Jean Robert Klomegan parried away Ghanaian Skipper Edmund Owusu Ansah's header in the 23rd minute to deny him the opener.

In the 29th minute, Owusu Ansah put midfielder Jordan Opoku through, only for Ametepe to hit the ball with his hand in the full glare of Sierra Leone referee Ahmed Bangoura. Bekoe converted the resultant spot kick leaving Klomegan with no answers.

The Hawks, who made occasional runs into the half of the Stars were gifted a fine opportunity to draw even a minute from half time, but Vincent Tchalla shot into the waiting hands of goalkeeper Fatau Dauda. A minute after recess, Boye was on hand to double the lead for the Stars when he connected home Benson's cross from the right after being left unmarked in the Hawks' goal area.

The Stars thence dominated the game but Bekoe and Jordan wasted a number of goal-scoring chances with the former being the worst culprit. Bekoe failed to silence his critics by blasting wide from close range in the 72nd minute after being fed by substitute Dominic Adiyah. The return leg has been scheduled for Cote d'Ivoire between May 16 to18. The winner after both legs would face the winner of the Burkina Faso-Nigeria clash in the final round of the competition designed exclusively for footballers plying their trade in domestic leagues.

Ghana Line up Fatau Dauda; Harrison Afful; David Addy; John Boye, Hanan Giwah; Edmund Owusu-Ansah; Agyemang Badu; Ekow Benson; Eric Bekoe/Samuel Mantey; Emmanuel Banahene/Baba Iddi; Jordan Opoku/Dominic Adiyah

Unused substitutes Prince Anokye, Enoch Ebo Andoh, Francis Akwafo, Joseph Addo.

Togo Line up Klomegan Jean Robert; Sodokin Kokou; James Loembe; Sibabi Sadate; Koumah Blaise; Kodjo Ametepe; Atteh Sumaila; Nouham Cisse; Aloenouvo Baker; Tchalla Vincent; Camara Poupositere/Alex Kinvi-Boh 4 May 08