ADDIS ABABA – The Walia Ibex started their 2022 World Cup qualifying games on Friday night with a 1-0 loss in Ghana against the Black Stars at the Cape Coast Stadium.
In the first half, the Walias sat back and invited pressure from the Black Stars – allowing the home side to control the match but their chances were limited to long-range shots.
It was a long-range effort from Midfielder Mubarak Wakaso which put the hosts one up. His shot in the 35th minute was fumbled by goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko, who could only helplessly watch the ball roll through his legs into the net.
In the second half, the Walias returned with a new goalkeeper as well as renewed energy as Shimelis Bekele released a shot from long range, moments before captain Kabede also tried his luck with another effort from distance. Both attempts went off target.
With Ghana clearly struggling for clear openings in the second half, Jordan tried a long range shot for a possible second goal but his effort was coolly handled.
In what was Ethiopia’s closest attempt in the second stanza, substitute Cherenet Gugesa drilled a low shot from just inside the box, forcing goalkeeper Ofori into a diving save before Iddrisu tapped the ball away to safety.
The hosts stood firm at the back in the latter stages of the encounter and ultimately emerged 1-0 winners on the night.
The narrow loss puts the Walias at the bottom of the table in Group G of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. The group includes Zimbabwe and South Africa, who played out a 0-0 draw in the other group game.
The team returned to their country on Saturday night and have already begun preparation for their second match.
Ethiopia will host Zimbabwe at the Bahir Dar Stadium on Tuesday while the Black Stars will travel to South Africa where they will face Bafana Bafana on Monday.
Ghana 1 (Wakaso 35′) Vs Ethiopia 0
Ethiopia: Shanko (F.Gebremichael 46′) Tamene, Baye, Yesuf, Solomon (Mohammed 46′), Endashaw, Tonjo, Kebede (Gugsa 75′), Bekele (Panom 85′), Nasir, A.Gebremichael (Yalew 72′).
Ghana: Ofori, Yiadom, Amartey, Djiku, Baba Rahman, Iddrisu Baba, Wakaso (Lomotey 70′), Schlupp (Kyereh 28′), Sulemana (Yeboah 69′), A. Ayew, J. Ayew (Fameyeh 90′).