Welcome to the Thomas Partey show. Four days after salvaging a point for Ghana’s Black Stars in their 2018 World Cup qualifying game against Congo, Partey emerged hero again yesterday as he led the Stars to a convincing 5-1 win against the Red Devils in the return fixture in Brazzaville.
Partey scored his first hat-trick for the Stars with a man-of-the-match performance, as he run the show in midfield to make amends for the team’s disappointing 1-1 draw in Kumasi.
Yesterday’s massive win may have revived Ghana’s fading hope of a chance to make it to Russia 2018.
However, Egypt’s 1-0 win against Uganda in Alexandria yesterday meant that Ghana’s hopes of making it to Russia depended on very complicated results in the remaining Group E matches.
Richmond Boakye-Yiadom, who was handed a late invitation to the team, ensured he was not left out the party as he netted a brace to silence the confident Congolese.
Yesterday’s win in Brazzaville earned Ghana their first win from four matches and took their point tally to five but remained in third place in Group E behind Egypt (nine points) and Uganda (seven).
Partey, who opened his account for Ghana with the decisive equalising goal last Friday, ensured that the Stars took charge of yesterday’s game after coming under early pressure from the Congolese who were kept at bay by some heroic saves by goalkeeper Richard Ofori.
Congo started yesterday’s game strongly and came close to opening the scoring but could not find a way past the agile Ofori who made some point-blank saves until Boakye-Yiadom opened the floodgates in the 23rd minute, when he taped the ball home after the Congolese defence failed to clear their lines during a goalmouth melee.
Three minutes later, Partey made it 2-0 with a powerful strike.
Illoy Ayyet gave the Congolese hope with his goal in the 43rd minute when he was left unmarked to head home a corner kick. But before the first half would end, Partey made it 3-1 by finishing off a pass from Christian Atsu from a tight angle.
The midfielder completed a famous hat-trick in the 69th minute after intercepting a pass and sprinting away with the ball before unleashing a powerful shot to give the Stars a comfortable 4-1 lead which snuffed out any fighting spirit and late resurgence left in the home side.
Boakye-Yiadom drilled the final nail in the Congolese coffin with his second goal — and Ghana’s fifth —five minutes to time for a famous 5-1 victory.