2026 World Cup qualifiers: Ghana moves to top of Group I after CAR victory

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Ghana’s Black Stars have climbed to the top of Group I in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers after a thrilling 4-3 victory over the Central African Republic (CAR) on Monday night at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

Jordan Ayew, who starred in the previous match by scoring the decisive goal against Mali, was handed a starting role against CAR. The Crystal Palace striker delivered an outstanding performance, netting a hat-trick to lead his team to a crucial win.

The match began on a high note for Ghana when Fatawu Issahaku won a penalty in the sixth minute. Ayew confidently converted the spot-kick, giving the Black Stars an early lead. However, the visitors quickly responded, with Louis Mafouta scoring twice in the 11th and 41st minutes to put CAR ahead by halftime.

The second half saw Ghana mounting a spirited comeback. Ayew equalized in the 60th minute by heading in a well-placed cross from Gideon Mensah. Just two minutes later, Issahaku found the back of the net to restore Ghana’s lead. Ayew completed his hat-trick and sealed the victory by capitalizing on a rebound after Mohammed Kudus’ shot was blocked.

Despite CAR’s Mafouta completing his hat-trick with a powerful strike, Ghana held on to secure the 4-3 win. This victory moves the Black Stars to the top of Group I with nine points, as they continue their quest for a spot in the 2026 World Cup.

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The win also maintains Ghana’s impressive record at the Baba Yara Stadium, where they have never lost a World Cup qualifier. The Black Stars will now await the results of other matches in the group to confirm their standing after four games  with Madagascar and Comoros tied on six points.

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