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Ekuban scores again as Black Stars dispatch Mauritania

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A spirited second-half performance saw Ghana beat Mauritania 3-1 in an international friendly on Tuesday.

Adama Ba scored for Al-Murabitun but goals from Kwesi Appiah, Thomas Partey and Italian-born Caleb Ekuban gave the Black Stars the bragging rights at the Accra Sports Stadium.

The game marked the start of preparations for both teams ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt in June/July.

Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah made nine changes to the starting XI of the side that beat Kenya 1-0 in an Afcon qualifier on Saturday, with Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and left-back Lumor Agbenyenu the maintained men.

Crystal Palace midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp, Wimbledon striker Kwesi Appiah and Sassuolo ace Alfred Duncan were among the fringe players given an opportunity to stake a claim to the final squad for the Afcon.

And indeed Appiah wasted no time in making an impact as he won and cooly converted a penalty in just the third minute to hand the hosts a 1-0 lead.

On the stroke of half-time, Ghana had a glorious chance to make it 2-0 when Partey went one-on-one with the goalkeeper but the Atletico Madrid man's delivery was thwarted by the shot-stopper.

Just three minutes after the break, Mauritania levelled the score through Adama Ba, who curled a sweet free-kick into the net, with goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi startled and unmoved.

Partey had another opportunity to find the back of the net in the 52nd minute but the midfielder was unable to connect to substitute Christian Atsu's cross in the box.

Then, Mubarak Wakaso, another substitute, saw a header collected by substitute goalkeeper Babacar Diop following a Jordan Ayew free-kick.

After Thiam Abdelkader sent a ferocious long-range strike over the bar, Partey had yet another chance to score at the other end but his header from just three yards, following another Jordan Ayew cross, went wide.

In the 70th minute, Ghana restored their one-goal lead through substitute Caleb Ekuban, who headed home Lumor Agbenyenu's cross to make it 2-1. It was the second goal for the Italian-born in three days after scoring on his debut to help the Black Stars beat Kenya 1-0 in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying on Saturday.

Two minutes later, Partey finally got his goal, picking up the ball in the box after some neat control by Ekuban to fire a shot into the net.

Source: Goal

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