Ghana had to fight back to draw 1-1 with Egypt on Sunday, thus ending their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign without a home win.
Both goals came in the second half of the encounter which passes for a glorified friendly at the Cape Coast Stadium. Mahmoud ‘Shikabala’ struck first for the World Cup-bound Egypt but new boy Edwin Gyasi, who was making his home debut, shortly drew level for Ghana.
The Black Stars, who had played at the last three World Cup finals, finished out a single victory in their three home games – all drawn against Uganda, Congo and the Pharaohs.
Also with 4 more points on the road, Ghana finished a disappointing third in the standings behind Egypt and Uganda.
Mubarak Wakaso was eager to impress and showcased his intent with an early pop at goal. Sherif Ekramy, though, was well positioned to easily deal with the midfielder’s powerful effort from range in the fifth minute.
It was turning into a two-man battle between Wakaso and Ekramy with the latter tested from distance once more 10 minutes later. The Pharaohs goal-minder was up to the task, pouncing on the ball after spilling the initial effort.
Raphael Dwamena then squandered a glorious chance to give the Black Stars the lead in the 21st minute. The forward failing to provide the finishing touches to a defense-splitting pass by Opoku Ampomah as the hosts ramped up the pressure.
Ampomah looked a real live-wire, but the Black Stars would suffer a blow as the midfielder was forced off the field before halftime, with what looked a broken nose.
The Pharaohs finally registered a shot on target in the 43rd minute, with Richard Ofori doing well to keep out Mahmoud ‘Trezequet’ Ibrahim’s rasping effort from an acute angle.
Ghana, though, would end the opening stanza on top with a flurry of chances before the break, but without reward as the two teams headed for the tunnel deadlocked.
Egypt’s Mahmoud Shikabala opened the scoring with a left-footed strike in the 60 th minute but Netherlands-born winger Gyasi equalized just three minutes later with a deflected effort from outside the area. It was a debut goal in the second cap for the 26-year-old Gyasi, who plays his club football in Norway.
The thrilling clash ended all square but the home fans would feel they should have left with three points to end Group E on a high, after a string of chances and pressure in the final stages of the second half.
Egypt can now look ahead to World Cup draw on 1 December, while Ghana must look to rebuild and hope they can be part of the party at Qatar 2022.
Richard Ofori; Harrison Afful, Lumor Agbenyenu, Kasim Nuhu, Daniel Amartey, Mubarak Wakaso, Godfred Donsah/49’ Majeed Waris, Ebenezer Ofori, Edwin Gyasi, Raphael Dwamena/72’ Richmond Boakye-Yiadom, Nana Ampomah/40’ Patrick Twumasi.
Sherif Ekramy; Ahmed Elmohamady, Rami Rabia/33’ Saad Samir, Ali Gabr, Karim hafez, Sam Morsi, Mohamed Elneny, Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan, Mahmoud “Shikabala”/65’ Abdalla El-Said, Ramadan Sobhi, Amr Marie/76’, Amr Gamal
By: Stephen Amos