Tuesday, 12 October 2021 19:58

Zimbabwe 0-1 Ghana: 6 Things we learned as Partey masterclass ensures Black Stars beat Zimbabwe again Featured

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A busy afternoon of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier ended with Ghana cruising to a 1-0 win against Zimbabwe in Harare.

With most of the focus on the new faces in the Black Stars’ team, Milovan Rajevac's men produced an assured display to record all that important victory.

Ghana were far from their flowing best, especially in the second half, but they produced the quality moments in the game and in the end ran out comfortable winners. Thomas Partey scored to move Ghana to second place on the table only behind South Africa.

 
Here are six things we learned from the clash.
 
Ghana's experience trumped Zimbabwe's lack of belief
 
As good as the Warriors of Zimbabwe were at times during the game, they didn’t go for the jugular at any point. It was easy to see Norman Mapeza's plan, stay in the game and pounce at the right time just as they did in the reverse fixture. 
 
They (Zimbabweans) weren’t bad on the day but were too inexperienced to believe they were capable to best the Black Stars and it showed in most periods of the game.
 
Milovan Rajevac's style is slowly taking shape
 
Completely altering the approach a national side employs takes a lot of time. It's not like club football where you can work with the players every day to hammer home your ideas, as the international breaks are few and far between, let alone short.
 
Keen to reimagine the outlook of the Ghana team, a substantial handful of patience is required.
 
Two matches into Rajevac's reign, the side have won both - but the signs are there that the players are gradually coming to terms with his philosophy and tactics.
 
While one can't avoid the presence of quality throughout the team, embedding the philosophy into the players will at least put them on the right track. 
 
Players such as Daniel Amartey and Baba Rahman were clearly onboard with the progressive, back-to-front style and look well-placed to improve gradually with this brand of football. 
 
Some of the old habits still remain - diagonal crosses for Benjamin Tetteh to run on to too often - but as steady as the progress is, it remains progress nonetheless.
 
Black Stars manage game brilliantly at 1-0 up
 
The Black Stars may have had a minor goalkeeping error to thank for their f goal- although Partey deserves credit for a delightful finish- but they could not have managed the game any better at 1-0 up.  
 
Milovan Rajevac's charges formed a solid defensive shape out of possession while ensuring they retained a counter-attacking threat to give their opponents something to think about going the other way.
 
As Norman Mapeza’s men went more and more gung-ho as the minutes ticked away, the Black Stars began to mount increasingly dangerous breaks. Rajevac will be delighted with how professionally his team controlled proceedings throughout the game.
 
Thomas Partey embodies Black Stars’ strength in depth
 
He may not have had too much looks in the game but Thomas Partey provided a remainder that he is real weapon in Rajevac's armoury. 
 
An energetic presence throughout, the Arsenal midfielder shielded the ball with aplomb and showcased the desire to carry the ball forward when he did win it back.
 
His agility and passing range caught the eyes on the break and allowed Jordan Ayew and Kamaldeen Sulemana to work their way into one-on-one situations. It’s that depth that will give Ghana the best chance of beating Ethiopia and South Africa next month.
 
Say it quietly; Jojo Wallocot is a good goalkeeper
 
Much maligned, much lampooned, Jojo Wallocot produced another assured display between the sticks in Harare. The goalkeeper has taken his time to settle since his arrival but with Rajevac giving him the nod to start ahead of Ati Zigi and Richard Attah, that belief paid off.
 
He produced the goods in both halves in the game. Point blank saves and ability to control and organise his defence were a sign of his growing confidence and although he was shaky in the early minutes of the game, his ability was never questioned.
 
It was a frustrating afternoon for Benjamin Tetteh- it showed
 
From the off, Tetteh was on a mission, he was making his first start for the Black Stars and relished stealing the show to solidify his presence in the new-look Black Stars setup. 
 
Unfortunately, it wasn’t his day; he was pulled from pillar to post by the Zimbabwean defence and rarely played in by those around him; understandably, he found it tough to hide his frustration.
 
If he was fit, then his performance was dismal and if he was injured, it raises even more questions as to why he remained in the game for so long.
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