Ghana pummels Egypt
Ghana won 3-0 against Egypt, and at a canter in the first of two prep friendlies before South Africa 2013 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening.
Egypt, seven-time African Cup, winners, paraded a largely second string team because most of the members of the main side are on club duty in Saudi Arabia for Al Ahly.
Twenty-four hours after submitting his final 23 players to the Confederation of African Football, goals from Agyemang Badu, Boakye-Yiadom and Asamoah Gyan's goals gave Ghana an important win.
An unfamiliar eleven, positionally and on the face it, started the game and dominated throughout, with Egypt being dangerous on the few occasions they chose to surge forward with purpose.
A freekick on 17 minutes was flighted by Mubarak Wakaso, which met the head of Emmanuel Agyemang Badu before whizzing past Ahmed El Shennawy. The goal is the fifth for the Udinese player at international level.
Fatau Dauda was called into action a few more times as the Pharaohs' emphasis on passing and movement gave Ghana food for thought.
Anthony Annan, who captained the team, landed awkwardly before the half hour and was subbed by Derek Boateng, who imposed himself on the game since coming on.
Emmanuel Clottey, surprisingly missing in the game despite being hyperactive in training, went off for Richmond-Boakye Yiadom at the start of the second half. The Sassuolo player took just eight minutes to make himself heard, scoring after 54 minutes.
Yiadom pressured El Shennawy to make a mistake in clearing the ball and subsequently slotted in calmly after Kwadwo Asamoah beat two players to lay him the ball.
Egypt's bench made a raft of changes, but it changed little due to the ability of Ghana to press quickly, especially after losing the ball. Kwesi Appiah introduced Solomon Asante, Christian Atsu, Richard Kissi-Boateng and Asamoah Gyan, with the Al Ain player providing the killer punch.
Gyan, Ghana's third captain on the day, kept the pressure on Egypt's back four, especially on the aging Wael Gomaa. On 83 minutes, Christian Atsu received the ball from midfield, turned Omar Gaber in brilliantly before speeding towards defence and placing a splitting pass to Asamoah Gyan. The defence waved for offside, but Gyan was on his to placing the ball past Al Shennawy.
Game, set, and match for the Black Stars, but Kwesi Appiah was qucik to downplay the significance of the result - the biggest win over Egypt in 18 matches - while stressing the need for improvement.
Ahmed El-Shenawy; Omar Gaber, Mahmoud Fathallah, Wael Gomaa, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy/Islam Ramadan; Mohamed El-Nenny, Ibrahim Salah/Marwan Mohsen), Amr El-Suleya/Saleh Gomaa (45'); Mohamed Ibrahim/Sherif Ashraf); Ahmed Hassan Mekki, El-Sayed Hamdi/Amr Zaki (45').
Fatau Duada; Harrison Afful/Solomon Asante (55'), Jerry Akaminko, John Boye, Kwadwo Asamoah; Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu/Christian Atsu (66'), Anthony Annan/Derek Boateng (27'), Mubarak Wakaso/Richard Kissi Boateng (74'); Rabiu Mohammed/Asamoah Gyan (79'), Albert Adomah, Emmanuel Clottey/Richmond Boakye (46').