At the Stade Barea Mahamasina in Antananarivo, yesterday, Madagascar held the four-time champions to a valiant barren game, putting the Ghana Black Stars’ bid to qualify for their 10th consecutive African Cup of Nations on hold.
With that outcome, the Stars, who have nine points, kept their lead in Group E, but their performance was far from stellar and fell short of expectations.
When the two teams met a year ago at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, Ghana easily prevailed thanks to the Stars’ 3-0 rout of their opponents. It’s possible that Ghanaians thought they would defeat the Malagasy yesterday in order to qualify. This time, no!
The Malagasy played as though they needed the outcome of yesterday’s match to give them a lifeline, despite the fact that they were already eliminated from the qualifying campaign with just one point. It was clear that their major goal was to avoid losing against Ghana so they could leave on a strong note. They had success.