In a thrilling World Cup qualifier opener, Inaki Williams emerged as Ghana’s hero, securing a 1-0 victory over Madagascar with a dramatic late goal in Kumasi. The Athletic Bilbao striker, making a significant impact, headed home a precise cross from Gideon Mensah, marking his first goal for the national team and providing a positive start to Ghana’s 2026 World Cup qualification campaign.
Ghana faced heightened expectations after recent defeats, and the match started with Madagascar dominating play in the first half. Despite having as many goal attempts as their opponents, Madagascar failed to capitalize on their chances. Richard Ofori’s crucial save and Mohammed Kudus’ pivotal role kept Ghana level, but the initial performance fell below expectations.
Strategic substitutions by coach Chris Hughton in the second half, including Majeed Ashimeru and Denis Odoi, elevated Ghana’s performance. Ashimeru’s dynamic runs and passes caused problems for Madagascar, and Williams, moving to the center-forward position, became a significant threat. Despite goalkeeper Melvin Adrien’s initial denials, Williams secured the win with a decisive header in the 95th minute.
While Madagascar displayed commendable performance, the avoidable conceded goal left them visibly disappointed. Inaki Williams’ emotional celebration reflected his stellar performance, and Ghana, relieved to start the qualification campaign with a victory, now looks ahead to their next match against Comoros in Moroni on Tuesday.