Ghana have qualified to the final round of the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) qualifiers after recording a 1-0 win against Benin in the 2nd leg of the preliminary round qualifiers Saturday.
The Black Galaxies thus progress to the next round of the qualifiers on a 4-0 aggregate following a 3-0 win in the 1st leg at the Cape Coast stadium. Ghana netted the only goal of the match in the 82nd minute through striker Daniel Afriyie Barnieh.
Coach Annor Walker named a starting lineup that included Accra Lions’ Dominic Nsobila in the heart of the field as he replaced Suraj Seidu. Asante Kotoko shot stopper Ibrahim Danlad maintained his place in post with Augustine Randolf, Ibrahim Moro, Mohammed Alhassan and Konadu Yiadom completing the back four.
Razak Kassim kept his place in midfield as Jonah Attuquaye and Evans Osei Wusu operated on the wings while Captain Gladson Awako sat behind Daniel Afriyie Barnieh.
Trailing 3-0 from the 1st leg, the Squirrels showed desire in the opening stages of the match seeking to upset the Black Galaxies but the calm Ghana defence was up to the task as they curtailed the onslaught that was thrown at them.
Afriyie Barnieh was the first player to get a decent chance for Ghana but was let down by his final touch as the Squirrels cleared their lines.
Winger Jonah Attuquaye was later put through by Captain Gladson Awako in the 17th minute but the Legon Cities man saw his shot punched out by Benin goalkeeper Serge Obassa.
The Squirrels equally matched the Galaxies in midfield but Razak Kassim and Dominic Nsobila did a wonderful job by providing the needed shield for the backline.
Salim Bawa fired from the distance with the aim of catching Ibrahim Danlad off guard but his shot was well read as he soared high to make a good catch.
With clear cut chances eluding both teams, the first half ended goalless at the Stad l’Amitie in Cotonou.
Back from recess, Benin again started on the front foot but were goal shy as they failed to take the chances that came their way.
Imoro Ibrahim was later substituted after picking a nose injury in the 71st minute. The left back crashed with an opponent resulting in a nose injury and was replaced by Dennis Korsah. Coach Annor Walker brought on David Abagna for Gladson Awako while Umar Basiru also came on for Evans Osei Wusu.
The substitutions energized the Black Galaxies as the team looked more composed in the closing stages of the encounter.
With eight minutes of proceedings remaining, Dennis Korsah sent an incisive ball to Umar Basiru – who dribbled past two Benin defenders before cutting a lovely ball across the face of goal to set up Daniel Afriyie Barnieh who smashed home for the opener.
Ghana made the last substitution in the 86th minute as Suraj Seidu came on for Jonah Attuquaye as the Black Galaxies held on to win 1-0 in Cotonou to seal through on a 4-0 aggregate.
Ghana will now face sworn rivals Nigeria in the final round in search of a ticket to the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) Algeria 2022.
The Black Galaxies have yet to appear in the tournament since 2014 when Ghana finished 2nd in South Africa.