Football: South Africa, Ghana draw World Cup warm-up

by David LEGGE South Africa fought back to draw 1-1 at home to Ghana on Tuesday in an international friendly between countries hoping to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Mubarak Wakaso converted a first-half penalty for the Black Stars in Durban but Ayanda Patosi equalised for South Africa soon after half time.

The teams also drew their World Cup qualifiers at the weekend with South Africa holding Burkina Faso 1-1 in Ouagadougou and Ghana being held 0-0 by Uganda.

Ghana are seeking a record-equalling fourth consecutive World Cup appearance by an African nation and South Africa want to return after missing the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

South Africa goalkeeper Brighton Mhlongo correctly guessed where Greece-based Wakaso would place his 38th-minute spot-kick, but the penalty had too much power and lift.

Belgium-based Patosi levelled six minutes into the second half with a superbly flighted ball over goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey from inside the box after a cut-back.

Veteran Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan, a disappointment against Uganda, came off the bench in the second half but did not have sufficient time to make a meaningful impact.

“We improved after a poor first half,” said South Africa coach Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba. “A problem we need to address is surrendering possession cheaply.”

Ghana assistant coach Maxwell Konadu said: “It was a worthwhile exercise. We have a good, skilful side that will correct the mistakes made tonight.”  

Early next month, South Africa host Senegal and Ghana visit Egypt during matchday two of World Cup qualifying.

Morocco, another country with realistic ambitions of reaching Russia, thrashed Canada 4-0 in Marrakech.

An even opening half ended with the four-time World Cup qualifiers leading 1-0 thanks to a close-range shot from Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez. 

But Canada collapsed in the second half at the same ground where they thrashed Mauritania 4-0 last Friday in another friendly.

Hakim Ziyech converted two penalties and Rachid Alioui completed the rout with a superb goal four minutes from time.

Equatorial Guinea, one of 33 African hopefuls who failed to make the World Cup group qualifying phase, drew 1-1 in Lebanon after Javier Balboa gave them an early second-half lead from a penalty.

Hassan Maatouk levelled five minutes from time for Lebanon in Beirut, dribbling past several defenders inside the box before unleashing an unstoppable low shot.

The away side, who reached the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals as hosts, conceded despite enjoying a numerical advantage for 30 minutes after Walid Ismail was red-carded for Lebanon.


© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse


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