The Black Stars downed Guinea’s Syli Nationale 3-0 in the third quarter-final of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
The dramatic win over the Guineans sets up a semi-final clash between the Stars and hosts Equatorial Guinea on Thursday, February 5.
Though the Guineans set the ball rolling at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo, it was the four-time champions who opened the scoring.
Kwesi Appiah, who was making his first start for the senior national team, drove a pass into the penalty area of the Guineans, locating Andre Dede Ayew, who back-heeled for Atsu to score in the fourth minute of the game.
Appiah’s predating run paid off a minute to the end the first half as he capitalised on a Baissama Sankoh blunder to beat Naby Yattara for Ghana’s second goal.
Atsu sealed Ghana’s win in the 60th minute when he controlled a quickly taken free kick by Mubarak Wakaso to curl in a 20-yard goal, which could easily pass for goal of the tournament.
“We had a winning mentality,” Atsu told journalists after the match. “We went for a win and we worked hard for it. That’s why we won the game not because Guinea are a bad team.”
Ghana will next play the hosts, who overcame Tunisia a day earlier to make their first semi-final at a Nations Cup.
“I think in this tournament there is no weak team,” said Atsu. “They qualified to the quarter-finals because they were stronger than the other teams.”
The Everton midfielder charged his teammates to improve in order to make a final berth.
“We have to do much better than we did against Guinea.”
His coach could not agree with him more.
“In tournaments like this, it is very difficult to play against the home team,” admitted Israeli Avram Grant. “Of course, they will get all the support from the home country but every game is a challenge.”
The former Chelsea coach assured that the Stars will continue into the final.