In a pivotal moment for Ghana, Inaki Williams secured a crucial 1-0 victory over Madagascar in Kumasi by netting his inaugural goal for the national team. The Athletic Bilbao striker, left unattended in the dying moments of added time, headed in a precise cross from Gideon Mensah.
This late goal spared Ghana from a potential disappointing 0-0 draw, offering a positive kickoff to their 2026 World Cup qualification campaign.
Facing pressure to perform after recent losses to Mexico and the USA in October, Ghana initially struggled, especially in the first half, where Madagascar, ranked 48 places lower in FIFA rankings, dominated play. Despite numerous goal attempts, Madagascar failed to capitalize on their chances.
Goalkeeper Richard Ofori, chosen over Lawrence Ati-Zigi, made a crucial save to maintain a level score, and Mohammed Kudus played a pivotal role. However, the first half concluded without a breakthrough for either side.
The second half saw an improved Ghana after strategic substitutions by coach Chris Hughton. Majeed Ashimeru and Denis Odoi’s introduction elevated the team’s performance, with Ashimeru’s dynamic runs causing problems. In a tactical reshuffle, Williams moved to the center-forward position, creating more attacking opportunities.
Williams, now a significant threat, came close to scoring multiple times but was initially denied by Madagascar goalkeeper Melvin Adrien. Adrien thwarted attempts from Kudus and Nuamah before Williams secured the win with a decisive header in the 95th minute.
Despite Madagascar’s commendable performance, the conceded goal was avoidable due to their lapse in marking Williams. Madagascar coach Romuald Felix Rakotondrabe displayed visible disappointment as Ghana’s players and technical team celebrated Williams’ inaugural goal for the team.