Host Ghana and Senegal have booked their places at the next stage of the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations after hard fought wins on the opening day of the sub-regional tournament on Saturday in Cape Coast.
Ghana left it late to beat Gambia in the tournament opener before Senegal edged Liberia 5-4 on penalties to book their places at the group stage.
Backed by a packed crowd, the Black Stars had the better of the exchanges and nearly shot into the lead in the fifth minute when Kwame Kizito found the back of the net, but his effort was ruled off after being adjudged to have fouled a Gambian defender in the process.
The Ghanaians suffered a setback in the eighth minute when centre-back
Nuhu Musah had to leave the field injured and was replaced by Vincent Adae Atingah.
After a barren first half, the second half continued on
the same pattern as Ghana dictated terms and almost scored six minutes after the restart, but Samuel Sarfo’s stinging shot from a distance skimmed the wrong side of the post.
The Scorpions offered very little in attack throughout the game, but came close to scoring in the 81st minute when Omar Jobe broke into the box from the right, but saw his power-laden shot well-saved by the Ghanaian keeper.
Ghana threw men forward in the final ten minutes and were
awarded a chance to win the game in five minutes of added-on time minute when the Gambian Matarr Ceesay handled in the vital area.
Antigah stepped-up and made no mistake from the penalty-spot to hand Ghana a 1-0 win on the day.
The second game between Liberia and Senegal was settled via penalties after both teams failed to score in regulation time.
Marcus Marculey, Alvin Maccornel, Terrence Tisdell and goalkeeper Abdulai Koulibaly scored for Liberia whilst Christopher Jackson and Sherrif Fallah wasted their kicks.
For Senegal, Adbale Dien, Amadou Dia Ndiaye, Mousa Marone, Mamadou El Barry and Sidy Bara scored with Elimane Oumar wasting his kick.
The competition continues on Saturday with two matches as Burkina Faso take on Niger, whilst Guinea take
on Guinea Bissau.