Black Stars will build momentum for upcoming matches  – Chris Hughton

Head Coach of the Black Stars, Chris Hughton, has commended the team’s second half showing that earned Ghana a slim 1-0 victory over the Barea of Madagascar in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier played at the Baba Yara Stadium, on Friday.

The team’s performance, in fact, raised an eyebrows among specta­tors as the opponents created most of the chances in the first half and dominated play for large periods.

Ghana was made to chase shadows as they lost their rhythm completely with the visitors dictat­ing the pace.

After a barren 45 minutes of ac­tion, the Black Stars returned from recess with the hope of getting a goal in the game.

A quick substitution that saw Denis Odoi replace Alidu Seidu; Majeed Ashimeru replacing Baba Iddrisu; Osman Bukari for Jordan Ayew and Ernest Nuamah for Antoine Semenyo, gave Ghana a lifeline.

And eventually, Ghana bounced back with more urgency though failed to convert their chances until with just 25 seconds of the five minutes added on time when Inaki Willams nodded home a cross from Gideon Mensah to snatch all three points.

Coach Hughton, while admitting a poor start for the Black Stars in the game, at a post-match inter­view, expressed satisfaction with their second half performance.

“That’s football, sometimes it takes a second for something to happen. We showed a bit of nervousness in the first half. This is the first game of the campaign. We were a little bit nervous. The second-half performance was excellent”, he said.

Despite the win, many fans were least enthused about the qualifying campaign and believed the team might not make it to the World Cup in the 2026, but Hughton expressed confidence that the team can build momentum and perform well in their upcoming games. “We have not lost any competitive game and we are building the team.”

Coach Hughton indicated that the team has what it takes to top their group to earn a spot in the tournament, which will be held in the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Ghana’s next match is against Comoros in Moroni, tomorrow and Coach Hughton emphasised the need to maintain focus and secure another win to stay on track for World Cup qualification.

The match itself saw the visitors pile pressure with Martin Rako­toharimalala and Tery Lapoussin being a thorn in the Stars’ defence and earned two quick corners in the 25th and 27th minutes while Richard Ofori saved a drive from Olivier Randriatsiferana in the 29th minute.

Richard Ofori made another good save for Ghana in the 41st minute to end the half.

On the 57th minute, Inaki William’s goal was ruled out for offside as Ghana bounced back after the break, with Mohammed Kudus wasting a free kick at the edge of the penalty area in the 67th minute.

Madagascar’s goalkeeper, Adrien Melvin, made two important saves in the 73rd and 75th minutes as Ghana upped their game. There was another wonderful save by Adrien Melvin in the 80th minute.

Mohammed Kudus misses a good goal scoring opportunity in the 84th minute while a quick counter attack saw the visitors nearly snatch the opener in the 86th minute but Olivier Randriat­siferana’s header hit the post with Richard Ofori completely beaten.

As most of the fans were pouring out of the stadium with disappointment on their faces, Inaki Williams shook the stadium with a powerful header with just 25 seconds to go.

Inaki Williams was so excited to have scored for Ghana for the first time during such crucial time.