KUMASI, Ghana (AP) — Ghana stunned Egypt 6-1 in the first leg of their World Cup playoff on Tuesday, with Asamoah Gyan's fifth-minute goal kicking off a dominant performance that makes the Black Stars overwhelming favorites to be one of the five African teams in Brazil next year.
Ghana captain Gyan scored in each half, while Egypt captain Wael Gomaa conceded an own goal to underline a disastrous first leg for the visitors. Chasing a first trip to the World Cup in over 20 years, Egypt under former United States coach Bob Bradley had appeared on course for a long-awaited qualification by battling through two years of violent unrest at home to make the final 10-team playoffs. The record seven-time African champion has only played in two previous World Cups.
But Ghana, the 2010 World Cup quarterfinalist and Africa's best-performing team three years ago, was way too strong at home at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi to put itself in prime position to progress, even with Egypt's home leg to come next month.
Bradley said it was now "nearly impossible" for Egypt to qualify.
It's still unclear where that second game will be played after Egypt initially said it would be in Cairo and in front of fans, the first international held in the capital in two years. FIFA, on Ghana's request, is still reviewing security arrangements for the deciding leg.
"We still have 90 more minutes to determine whether we play in Brazil or not," Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew said. "What we have achieved with this scoreline is to have one foot in Brazil. We need to complete it in the next match when we play in Egypt."
After struggling badly at the start, Egypt responded through a 41st-minute penalty by Mohamed Aboutrika to narrow the margin to 2-1, only for an unrelenting Ghana to respond with four more goals.