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Partey free kick helps Ghana edge Zimbabwe in Harare

Ghana made it nine points from four games with an important 1-0 road victory over Zimbabwe in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group G, moving the Black Stars into first place for the time being as they await the result of the South Africa-Ethiopia matchup later in the day. Arsenal FC midfielder Thomas Partey produced the match winner with a well-struck free kick to give Ghana three essential points and move them two points ahead of Bafana Bafana. Zimbabwe were on the verge of elimination heading into the match and it was mathematically confirmed following their third straight defeat.

It was an underwhelming start for Ghana as they were slow to get their bearings on the road, but the hosts failed to take advantage in the opening thirty minutes. Two chances in two minutes were the closest the Warriors came starting in the 25th minute. A short corner kick led to Zimbabwe star attacker Knowledge Musona whipping in a cross that dangerously bounced through the Ghanaian penalty area, but Kelvin Madzongwe could not quite reach the ball to apply a finish. Sloppy passing in the back for Ghana a minute later led to a poor touch by keeper Joe Wollacott, who barely scrambled the ball away as two attackers converged on the Swindon Town player.

The talent in the Black Stars was always capable of producing a moment of quality, and in the 31st minute Partey obliged to help his team to an important lead. The midfielder unleashed a devastating curling shot from 23 yards out that looped over the jumping Talbert Shumba in the Zimbabwe goal, who could not handle the pace of the shot. Ghana nearly made it two just before halftime when Shumba flapped at and missed a corner kick service, after which Daniel Amartey’s low shot was cleared off the line by Terrence Dzvukamanja.

Ghana were able to kill the match off in a second half that featured few in the way of opportunities for either side. The closest either team came to scoring was in the 51st minute when Partey received a pass from Emmanuel Tetteh and laid off to Mohammed Kudus, who rasped a curling effort off the crossbar. Zimbabwe disappointingly posed little danger and urgency to equalize and the Black Stars were content with the narrow victory.

Highlights are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV


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