Under the watchful eyes of Chris Hughton, Ghana suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of the United States of America in an international friendly on Wednesday.
⏰ 𝗙𝗨𝗟𝗟 𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘 – International Friendly
🇺🇸 USA 4️⃣-0️⃣ Ghana 🇬🇭
— 🇬🇭 Black Stars (@GhanaBlackstars) October 18, 2023
Black Stars put up a disappointing display and were deservedly punished in what was a one-sided first half at the Geodis Park in Nashville, Tennessee.
The USA ran riot in the first half with a double from Giovanni Reyna and further strikes from Christian Pulisic and Leon Balogun completing the rout.
Chris Hughton's side had lost 2-0 to Mexico last Sunday, and the gaffer made a series of changes to his starting lineup for the game against ‘The Stars and Stripes'. Abdul Manaf Nurudeen replaced Lawrence Ati Zigi in the post, while Alidu Seidu started at right-back. Nicholas Opoku and Jermone Opoku were handed the nod at the centre of defense, while Gideon Mensah maintained his slot at left-back.
In the midfield, Thomas Partey started alongside Edmund Addo, with Joseph Paintsil, Jordan Ayew, and Mohammed Kudus providing support for centre-forward Inaki Williams.
The USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter also named a strong line-up that had the likes of Christian Pulisic, Yunus Musah, Gio Reyna, Tim Weah, Folarin Balogun, and Sergino Dest all starting.
After their 3-1 defeat to Germany last Saturday, the USA made a quick start to this game, and their early domination paid off when Reyna slammed home from the rebound after just 10 minutes.
The Americans continued to enjoy unchallenged incursions into Ghana’s area and were awarded a penalty when Pulisic was clumsily brought down in the box. The AC Milan winger assumed the responsibility himself and scored from the spot to double the home side’s lead in the 22nd minute.
At this point, the USA were upping the chances and Balogun was next to get on the score sheet when he was given all the time and space to turn in the box and fire the ball home after Gideon Mensah had been dispossessed close to his goal.
Reyna added a fourth late in the first half as he easily fired a shot into the net from an indirect free-kick to put the game beyond Ghana’s reach.
Gregg Berhalter's men took their foot off the gas in the second half and despite a series of substitutions by Hughton to effect the game, neither side could add to the score line as the match ended 4-0.
The recent result has raised concerns in Ghana, especially coming from the fans who are growing increasingly intolerant of Chris Hughton's performances with the senior national team.
The aftermath of the international break has left a distaste amongst fans with crucial World Cup qualifiers and the AFCON tournament coming up in the next few months.
What the fans are saying about Chris Hughton on social media
Ghana football fans have gone on to air their views and some have asked for a new coach after the series of results that have come. Here are some comments from Ghanaian fans:
“Chris Hughton is not a good coach, he won't take us anywhere”
“The only person who is responsible is the coach. Sack him now before it’s too late”
“Yes the coach will not help at all, see this good squad we have but he is not able to use them”
“I’m tired of us switching coaches every season”.
Chris Hughton apologizes after the defeat
The 64-year-old Black Stars coach apologized for the outcome of the game in a post-match conference. He's well aware of the growing concerns about him in Ghana.
“I apologize for the performance and the results.
This has come on the foothills of two consecutive losses in October international friendlies. Ghana lost 2-0 to Mexico before the recent 4-0 loss to the United States.
In those two games, the Ghanaians conceded six times and could not score any, raising doubts on Hughton's ability to turn the country's senior team into a winning machine with the AFCON just a few months away.
A decline in fan support and enthusiasm
While stars like Kudus and other big names in the Black Stars squad still attract fans to Ghana’s games, the excitement around Hughton and his backroom staff is dwindling as seen in their recent outburst.
A style of play perceived as uninspiring and a coach seemingly reluctant to assert himself have contributed to declining fan support.
The passion for the Black Stars seems to be fading, which is disheartening for a football-loving nation.
Although some section of the fans believe the country's recent performances is due to the failure of the midfield to rightly feed the attackers, a lot is expected from Chris Hughton to fix the perceived issue before it's too late.
Chris Hughton and the Black Stars will from now shift focus to the World Cup qualifiers next month. The country will begin their qualifying rounds in a game against Madagascar on 13 November and Comoros on 21 November before they travel to Ivory Coast for the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
This article was most recently revised and updated 2 months ago