Two early goals from Ame Mehamed aided Ethiopia to a 2-1 victory over Ghana in their Second Round first leg clash on Sunday in Addis Ababa.
Mehamed's brace completed within the first eight minutes gave the host a firm cushioning until Jonah Osabutey gave the Ghanaians a lifeline by halving the deficit three minutes before time.
The hosts started the game on a bright note mounting pressure from the onset. In the fourth minute, Surafel Awel dispossessed his marker Daniel Amoah before unleashing a shot that was spilled by Ghana custodian Kwame Baah before Mehamed fired home the rebound to break the deadlock.
Mehamed yet again found the back of the net to double the lead four minutes later after a defensive howler from Ishaku Konda gave him space to run and slot home from close range.
The visiting Black Satellites barely troubled Ethiopia goalie Teklemariam Shanko in the first half. Konda came close to pull one back with a header on 34 minutes when he soared above all from a free-kick.
On the stroke of full time, Charles Boateng had himself to blame by ballooning his effort, after being put through.
Upon recess, Mehamed was unlucky to see his headed effort sailing wide of the near post. Ghana threw everything in search of a goal while the hosts opted for a defensive tactic.
Three minutes from time, Osabutey reduced the deficit tapping in from close range.
Ethiopia coach Girma Habteyohannis expressed satisfaction with his team's output despite the late goal they let in.
"I was very impressed with the way my players performed because Ghana has a good team in great form. My players did what we told them to do. The pressure in the second half made us to deploy a defensive tactic. In the return leg, we will try to amend some changes in order for us to qualify. Every tourney has its own problems but one needs to have a solution for those problems," stated Habteyohannis.
On his part, Ghana coach Didi Dramani was the least happy with the two 'gift' goals.
"We all know the challenges when you play in East Africa. The challenge of altitude was something that we knew even before we set up. We tried to conserve energy in order to give it to the whole 90 minutes. We were struck by the two early goals that we gifted. We had to push beyond doubts in order to make the second leg a brighter opportunity for us. That is what we have done in the second half," said Dramani.
The return leg is scheduled for the newly constructed Cape Coast Stadium in Ghana's central region in three weeks.
Friday, 20 April 2016
Mauritania 0-3 Mali
Saturday, 21 April 2016
Tunisia 1-2 Senegal
Gambia 1-0 Morocco
Cote d'Ivoire 1-2 Guinea
Burkina Faso 1-1 Congo
Burundi 0-1 Nigeria
Angola 3-0 Gabon
Mozambique 1-1 Lesotho
Namibia 0-0 South Africa
Sunday, 22 April 2016
Ethiopia 2-1 Ghana
Zimbabwe 0-0 Cameroon
Rwanda 0-1 Egypt