Ghana had a late scare in Sunday's FIFA World Cup™ qualifier
against Lesotho but in the end were still deserved of a 3-2 win
which keeps them out in front in their group.
Lesotho, hosting the Group 8 qualifier in neutral South Africa because of the unavailability of their own stadium, ensured a dramatic finish on a bitterly cold night in Bloemfontein with two late goals but it served only to give a respectable look to the score line. The Black Stars had been comfortably set for a second successive 3-0 win when Lesotho banged in two strikes in the last minute of the game.
Ghana, who beat Libya 3-0 in Kumasi last weekend, overcame the freezing weather and the high altitude to dominate most of the game and provide proof of their potential with timely taken goals.
Laryea Kingston set the ball rolling with a strike after just 15 minutes, although it could be argued the Lesotho goalkeeper Sam Ketsekile got his angles all wrong and gave away a soft goal. Then Junior Agogo got the first of his two, capitalising on a lucky rebound to suddenly find himself in the clear, onside and with only the goalkeeper to beat. He went round Ketsekile and finished emphatically from a tight angle.
With a 2-0 half-time advantage, Ghana were able to take a little pressure off the busy Lesotho team, who were constantly battling their opponents but never allowed to put any decent passing movements together. In the 63rd minute, Agogo rose unchallenged to head home from a corner, a classic centre forward goal from the big No. 9.
"We did what we had to do and came away with the three points at the end," said a satisfied Agogo after the match. "I could have had a hat trick but I'll take the two. We were already feeling the altitude in the first half but we just had to keep doing our best and hopefully our quality showed through.
"The boys are buzzing. We've been together for a while now so we know what is expected of each other and we know what needs to be done,." Agogo added.
To their credit, Lesotho kept pushing forward right until the last and the game was already in stoppage time when Lebajoa Mphongoa provided a cross that Sello Muso hammered in as Ghana's defence were caught out of position.
Then straight from the restart, Lesotho won the ball back and captain Lehlohonolo Seema blasted a dramatic long range shot into the net, just seconds before the referee blew the final whistle.
Ghana stay now in Bloemfontein until midweek, after which they will travel to Libreville to take on Gabon in their next qualifier. "We are going to take it easy ahead of our next game. All the players did really well today," said caretaker coach Silas Tetteh.
"It was disappointing to concede the two late goals, we lost concentration. Giving away two late goals like that is not good for a team that wants to qualify for the World Cup. But it was a spectacular result, six points is the maximum and we can now build on this. Six goals in two matches, too, is very good."