Ghana wrapped up their successful 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with a 3-1 win over Sao Tome and Principe at the Accra Sports Stadium on Sunday.
Chelsea-owned left-back Baba Rahman rounded off the Black Stars’ scoring in the second half after Jordan Ayew and Nicholas Opoku gave the Black Stars a two-goal advantage in the first 45 minutes.
A howler from Asante Kotoko goalkeeper Razak Abalora led to a goal from Fernandes Carvalho. It was the island nation’s third goal of the campaign, having conceded 16 goals.
The win ensures Black Stars finish top of Group C, with Sudan securing the second spot after they beat South Africa 2-0 in Omdurman.
Although qualification had been secured, the match was an opportunity for Charles Akonnor and his players to appease Ghanaians after their disappointing performance in South Africa last Thursday.
They made the perfect start with defender Nicholas Opoku scoring his debut goal in the 12th minute. The former Berekum Chelsea centre-back who currently plays in France for Amiens, rose highest to head home a corner from Kudus Mohammed.
Four minutes later, Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew had a penalty shout ignored, but was awarded one in the 30th minute after suffering a clumsy tackle in the box.
Jordan was allowed to take the penalty by brother Andre Ayew – who is the team’s regular penalty taker – and he converted expertly as Black Stars ended the half on a high.
Baba Rahman increased the tally in the 60th minute. Kudus put the ball on the plate for Rahman who produced an emphatic finish.
Kudus, Ayew and Jordan all had chances to score the fourth before Carvalho scored the consolation goal for Sao Tome in the 81st minute. The midfielder hit the ball into an empty after intercepting a pass from Abalora.
Willem II striker Kwasi Okyere was put through on goal but could not hit the target.
With qualification secured, the focus now is to end the long wait for the title. The Black Stars last lifted the Afcon trophy in 1982.