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2018 World Cup Qualifying - CAF, Round Three
  • Vladis-Emmerson Illoi-Aiiet (43')
  • Richmond Boakye (23', 85')
  • Thomas (26', 45'+2', 69')

Partey hat-trick eliminates Congo as Ghana revive World Cup hopes

Christian Thompson/ BackpagePix

Thomas Partey scored a hat-trick and Richmond Boakye netted twice as Ghana defeated Congo-Brazzaville 5-1 to revive their faint hopes of World Cup qualification.

Lloyd Ayet scored the consolation goal for Congo, but defeat eliminates them from the running for next summer's showpiece in Russia with two games to play.

Victory takes Ghana up to five points, two behind group leaders Uganda and one behind Egypt ahead of the two sides' meeting in Alexandria on Tuesday evening.

It was a much-improved display from Kwesi Appiah's side following their 1-1 stalemate with the Red Devils in Kumasi on Friday, as a Black Stars side shorn of some of their main stars played with invention and dynamism to pick up their first win of a disappointing qualifying campaign.

Richmond Boayke, introduced to the side as a replacement for injured captain Asamoah Gyan, opened the scoring in the 23rd minute after reacting quickest to Christian Atsu's miskick and tapped home from close range.

Congo's defence had no answer to the pace and movement of Atsu and Thomas Agyemong, and Partey opened his account four minutes later when he finished with aplomb past Barel Mouko after Boakye's shot cannoned off a defender into his path.

Congo replaced Clevid Dikamona with Rahavi Kifoueti shortly afterwards as they looked to find a way back into the match, and Ayet halved the deficit 17 minutes later when he rose to head a Thievy Bifouma free kick past the previously impeccable Richard Ofori.

However, the Black Stars were quickly back on the attack, and profited from the hosts' celebrations to restore their two-goal advantage when Partey shot from a tight angle after being played in by Atsu.

It was a much more conservative Ghana side that came out after the break as they sought to preserve their lead, but Partey killed off the contest 20 minutes from time when he intercepted a wayward pass by Durel Avounou to complete his hat-trick -- the Black Stars' first since the absent Jordan Ayew struck three past South Korea in 2014.

Boakye added a fifth five minutes from time when Harrison Afful - restored to the starting XI after being dropped for the first leg - picked out the powerful forward with a delightful cross, and the Red Star Belgrade man made no mistake from just outside the six-yard box.

It was an excellent performance by the Black Stars, although Ghanaian joy was tempered by the fact that the failings of the qualifying campaign to date have still left the West Africans with a mountain to climb if they're to reach their fourth consecutive World Cup.

WC Qual - CAF News