2026 FIFA WCQ: Ayew hands Black Stars win

There was late drama in Bamako where Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew fired in a 94th-minute winner to hand Ghana victory in Otto Addo’s first competitive game back as Black Stars coach.

At a press conference held after the clash with Mali, Otto Addo said, “I think we had big problems in the first twenty minutes. Mali made good pressing; we had difficulties to stand firm and allowed them to make chances.”

The tactician subbed on Jordan Ayew in the 79th minute and Abdul Fatawu in the 88th minute in the clash, with the latter going on to tee up Ayew for the match-winner six minutes later. More importantly, this was Ghana’s first win of 2024, some seven games into the year. 

Speaking on his substitutions, Addo mentioned, “ And at the end our substitutes made the difference, we scored and we are happy. But we had a very good fighting spirit that is true.”

Mali had taken the lead just before the half time interval when Kamory Doumbia’s shot rebounded off a defender and then back in off the midfielder. After the restart, Ernest Nuamah’s strong header at the back post got his side level before Ayew’s late strike sparked the celebrations.

The Ghana coach concluded, “At the end, it was a little bit lucky to score but the result was well deserved. We played good.The game was 50-50, and it was even. At the end, the substitutes made the difference.” 

The Black Stars leapfrogged Mali and moved level with Group I leaders Comoros. They will take on the Central African Republic on Monday, 10 June 2024 at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Ashanti, Ghana.