The Black Stars were edged 0-1 by the host nation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in a friendly international on Tuesday.
The only goal of the game was scored in the 20th minute after Mubarak Wakaso’s backheel found Fyodor Smolov, who raced to pick up Alexander, before he released the ball back to Fyodor Smolov and the Russian No. 9 slotted the ball through the legs of Adam Kwarasey in post.
Ghana lost the game, but they the coach Avram Grant might draw a lot of positives from the game as his men played well as a unite and managed to swing their passes together in a delightful manner. Ghana were able to hold on to the ball and were superior to the host in terms of possession- in the first half possession was even, but Ghana had the better part of their opponents in terms of possession in the second half and gave them torrid time.
One area the Black Stars lacked in their play is a finisher to translate their total control of the ball and their dominance into goals- Jordan Ayew, wasn't poor, yet he could have done better. The absence of the Black Stars skipper Asamoah Gyan who has scored 48 international goals as the leading top scorer of the Black Stars was hugely felt.
Before the goal, both sides had threatened the defensive area of their opponent.
Christian Atsu, who had a very good game put the new darling boy of the Black Stars, Frank Acheapong through, yet the youngster couldn't control the ball, due to the power behind it.
Mubarak Wakasu, after giving out the ball that resulted in the goal saved Ghana when he made a time clearance in the 18-yard box to prevent Alan Dzokoev from advancing with the ball.
Jordan Ayew, afterwards received a ball from midfield and was brought down in the 18-yard, only for the referee to wave his hands for play to continue. The Ghanaian players challenged the referee for the decision, but it stood.
Adam Kwarasey produced a decent save in the 41st minute when he used his leg to stop Zobnin's shot from entering the net.
In the closing minute of the first half, Ghana took over play and threatened the goal area of the Russians: Christian Atsu in the process hit the crossbar after Frank Acheampong took on two of his markers and laid a pass.
The tempo of the first twenty five minutes of the second half was very low, as Ghana failed to break down the defence of Russia and the hosts appeared to contend with their 1-0 lead.
However, as the game progressed Russia began to scare Ghana in the process. Adam Kwarasey almost gifted the Russians a second goal when he mistimed the ball and missed it, yet John Boye saved his blushes, as he made a superb clearance off the line to give the goalkeeper a big sigh of relief.
Ghana took control of the game in their quest to snatch the equaliser, with Frank Acheampong and Christian Atsu giving the host more defensive problems.
Agyemang Badu should have earned the much-needed equaliser Ghana were searching for and with just Igor Akinfeev to beat in the Russian post he hit the ball into his body.
However, against the run of play the Russia almost punished the visitors again, when the Smolov’s ball was cleared off the goal line by no other person than Boye the man who emerged as the saviour of the Black Stars by being at the right place at the right time for the second time.
Christian Atsu came close to crowning his fantastic play in the evening with the equaliser, when he struck a well-calculated pass received from Baba Rahman, requiring an equally brilliant save from Akinfeev to deny him the equaliser in the 88th minute.
The game was the first clash between these nations at the senior level.