Rwanda 0-1 Ghana
Mauritius vs Mozambique
Amavubi head coach Johnny McKinstry has hailed the performance of his players despite losing to Ghana in the 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifier played at Amahoro National Stadium on Saturday.
Midfielder Mubarak Wakaso was the hero of the day as the Black Stars picked a narrow 1-0 victory and sweet revenge for the 1-0 loss in the same competition at the same venue 12 years ago courtesy of a Jimmy Gatete strike.
His sublime 85th minute free-kick proved the difference as Avram Grant’s team made it two wins out of two in a highly-contested battle on a dreadful pitch.
The win takes Ghana three points clear at the top of Group H with six points but Rwanda, despite the defeat, remain second on three points, head of Mozambique and Mauritius, who both have zero points ahead of their meeting in Mauritius today.
The Black Stars dominated the game for long spells in-front of a packed Amahoro stadium but could not find the opener until Wakaso scored from the edge of the 18-yard box area after Emery Bayisenge brought down Jordan Ayew and he received yellow card—the only booking produced by Somali referee Hagi Yabarow Wiish.
“I am disappointed we didn’t get anything from the game but I must salute my players, for they gave their best to get something from Ghana but we just couldn’t get a shot on goal, but all I am happy with the effort of the players,” McKinstry said after the match.
He added, “We had a clear game plan and it worked so well until late in the game when we make one mistake and paid for it. When you play against very good teams likes Ghana you need to be alert the whole game because you give them one chance you will be punished.”
His counterpart Grant admitted that the game was tough and that his team were lucky to go away withal three points, “The game was very tough and the state of the pitch didn’t help either but I am happy that we have got three points. Rwanda played really well.”
McKinstry also kept faith goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera ahead of the more experienced Eric ‘Bakame’ Ndayishimiye after his side’s 3-1 win over Ethiopia in a warm-up fixture last Friday. Quentin Rushenguziminega started as the lone striker and Jean-Claude Iranzi on the left wing.
Andre Ayew returned to the Ghana starting XI for the first time since March, as captain in the absence of injured Asamoah Gyan, whose place was taken up by Richmond Boakye-Yiadom, while Afriyie Acquah and Jordan Ayew both earned starting spots.
The next qualifier will be played on March 25, 2016 when Rwanda travel to Mauritius and Ghana host Mozambique.