Inaki Williams celebrate

The Black Stars opened their 2026 World Cup qualifiers with a hard-fought win against Madagascar.

In the 95th minute, Inaki Williams finally found the back of the net with an assist from Gideon Mensah as the Black Stars secured a hard-fought win over Madagascar.

Ghana hosted Madagascar at the Baba Yara Stadium on Friday. Chris Hughton announced a strong lineup for the game. 

Richard Ofori made a return to the side for the first time in over a year. Andre Ayew who is the skipper for the side was left on the bench. 

The Barea dominated the early minute of the game and threatened Ghana’s goalpost. Ghana however on the other side had a nervy start to the game. 

Madagascar kept probing and asked the questions in the first half while Ghana kept struggling in the game. 

The Barea recorded 3 shots on target while Chris Hughton’s side recorded just a shot on target. 

Madagascar scored in the latter part of the first half but was ruled out as an offside. The first 45 minutes of the game ended goalless. 

In the second half, Denis Odoi and Majeed Ashimeru were introduced to replace Alidu Seidu and Baba Iddrisu.

In the early minute of the second half, the Black Stars had two quick chances but failed to find the back of the net. 

The Black Stars improved their performance and kept the Barea under pressure with Inaki Willaims scoring in the 53rd minute was it was ruled out for an offside. 

Daniel Amartey in the 62nd was replaced by Kasim Nuhu after picking a knock. 

Majeed Ashmieru and Inaki Williams kept threatening Madagascar but sat deep and composed. 

The technical team introduced Ernest Nuamah to replace Antoine Semenyo in the 73rd minute to put pressure on the backline of the Barea. 

The Olympique Lyon forward made an instant impact by creating chances. Ashimeru came close in the 80th minute but his shot was saved. Madagascar also came close to scoring minutes later but the ball struck the goalpost. 

Eight minutes to end the game, Red Star Belgrade forward, Osman Bukari was replaced by Jordan Ayew.

Mohammed Kudus almost broke the deadlock in the 82nd minute but his beautifully controlled ball was saved by the Barea goalkeeper. 

In the 90th minute, Bukari’s cross did not locate anyone in the 18-yard box. Salis Samed’s follow-up shot was blocked by the defense of Madagascar.

But in 95th minute, Inaki Williams snatched a late win for Chris Hughton’s side.

The Athletic Bilbao forward has now broken his deadlock after going 11 games without scoring a goal.

The Black Stars will travel to face Comoros in the second Group I game at the Stade de Moroni on Tuesday, November 21 with kick-off scheduled at 16:00GMT.