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WCQ: Heartbreak for Bafana as Ghana’s Black Stars reach next round

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South Africa’s hopes of advancing into the final round of 2022 World Cup Qualifying were snuffed out on Sunday night when they lost 1-0 to Group G rivals Ghana at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium.

The result – secured by a highly-debatable penalty scored by Andre Ayew – left the Black Stars and Bafana level on 13 points and with the same goal difference (+4), but the West African side’s extra goal (7 to 6) through the course of six group matches proved the key tie breaker to send them through to the playoffs in March next year.

Ghana created all the early attacking pressure, but they suffered an injury blow when Mohammed Kudus limped off and was replaced by Daniel-Kofi Kyereh in just the 12th minute.

The hosts then had two great chances in the 14th and 16th minutes, with Jordan Ayew first closed down by Terrence Mashego when he looked set to net from a tight angle, before Kyereh sprung the offside trap but fired over when faced with only goalkeeper Ronwen Williams to beat.

Yet the Black Stars continued to build the pressure and they were rewarded with a soft penalty just after the half hour mark, as Daniel Amartey tumbled after minimal contact at a corner kick.

In his 100th appearance for Ghana, captain Andre Ayew struck home the spot kick to put the host 1-0 up on 33 minutes.

South Africa, stung by the goal, upped their game in what remained of the first half, but were nowhere near threatening Ghana goalkeeper Jojo Wollacott, leaving the game 1-0 in favour of the West Africans at the interval.

Bafana Bafana continued their improvement in the second half, but struggled to feed the likes of Percy Tau and Victor Letsoalo in danger areas, while Ghana always offered a threat on either the counter attack, or from set pieces.

Around the midway point of the second stanza SA had a free kick in a promising position and Tau whipped a dipping, left-footed shot on target, but Wollacott did well to save and smother the ball, with runners charging in and hoping to capitalise on any mistake.

The visitors made their first change in the 70th minute, with attacking midfielder Keagan Dolly replacing the more defensive-minded Ethan Brooks. The sub’s clever pass to Tau on 73 minutes ended with the striker tumbling under a challenge, but appeals for a penalty were waved away.

Read Also: WCQ: Late goals for Montenegro put Dutch celebrations on hold

On 78 minutes Ghana almost killed the game off when Kamaldeen Sulemana beat Williams to a long ball and just about managed to get a long range shot away, but the ball drifted just wide of the unguarded goal.

Bafana Bafana threw numbers forward in the dying minutes and forced Ghana to hang on with some desperate defending, but ultimately the hosts were able to hold out and claim a narrow victory to advance a step closer to Qatar 2022.

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Spurs powerbrokers agreed over push for Fiorentina striker Vlahovic

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Fiorentina striker, Dusan Vlahovic, remains high on the agenda at Tottenham.

Tottenham are said to be leading the race to land Vlahovic, with Juventus also said to be keeping a close eye on the situation.

It seems as though Spurs may be inclined to throw all of their resources behind a move for the forward if Harry Kane ends up joining Manchester City ahead of next season.

read also:No tension!, Rodgers confident about Premier League chances

Spurs manager Antonio Conte and technical director Fabio Paratici are both fully convinced that Vlahovic would serve as the ‘ideal heir’ to the England skipper, says Tuttomercatoweb.

The report claims that Spurs may be starting to plan for life without Kane, who is ‘destined’ to leave the club after failing to push through an exit during pre-season.

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Ronaldo ‘determined to retire with more Ballon d’Or’s than Messi’

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Manchester United attacker Cristiano Ronaldo is reportedly determined to retire with more Ballon d’Or’s than Lionel Messi.

The Portuguese has won the award on five occasions, firstly scooping the prize in 2008 before further triumphs in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.

In contrast, Lionel Messi boasts six wins in the Ballon d’Or, with the 34-year-old taking the titles in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019, with the 2020 edition cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

read also:No tension!, Rodgers confident about Premier League chances

Now, award chief Pascal Ferre has claimed that Ronaldo has informed him of his ambition to win more Ballon d’Or’s than his Argentine counterpart before he hangs up his boots.

Speaking to Marca, Ferre said: “Ronaldo has only one ambition and that is to retire with more Ballon d’Or than Messi and I know because he told me.”

Ronaldo boasts 10 goals and two assists from 14 games in all competitions for Man United since returning to the club in the summer.

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No tension!, Rodgers confident about Premier League chances

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Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers isn’t panicking ahead of facing Watford.

This season the Foxes have struggled for consistency and languish in the bottom half of the table.

“I am only looking at Watford, that is the reality,” Rodgers explained.

“We are within touching distance of where we want to be, considering we have not had the most consistent start.

read also:Transfer window: Leicester, Valencia tracking Hammarby attacker Akinkunmi Amoo

“If we are talking about the top six, we’re very close to that. I expect us to be challenging as the season goes on but you want to be in contention as early as you can.”

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