Ghana beat ten-man Malawi 2-0 on Saturday to gain first leg ascendency in the final 2013 Africa Cup of Nations first leg qualifier.

The four-time continental champions put up a stirred second-half display to win back the fans after a tepid first 45 minutes.

Christian Atsu turned in Andre Ayew’s goal-bound shot inside the 18-yard box for the opener.

It began with a nice play from captain Asamoah Gyan who teed up Marseille midfielder Andre and the FC Porto player was clinical with the finishing.

Midfielder Anthony Annan added the second with a powerful shot from 20-yards in the 54th minute.

The Osusuna player skipped past his marker on the right before unleashing a thunderbolt past goalkeeper Simplex Nthara.

The Flames nearly snatched the equalizer when Anthony Annan gave away possession close to the box but striker Atusaye Nyondo.

Ghana could have shot ahead in the opening minute but Gyan was sluggish upfront.

Malawi had chunk of possession in the first half but lacked the cutting edge with striker Nyondo.

After the break, Ghana looked revitalized after coach Kwesi Appiah lubricated his midfield by introducing FC Dnipro man Derek Boateng who replaced Jordan Ayew.

Man-of-the match Atsu was denied a double when his low grounder hit the goal post with goalkeeper Simplex completely beaten.

Malawi’s quest to get an important one goal was thwarted when defender James Sangala was shown the exit for a second yellow card offence in the 83rd minute.

Substitute Emmanuel Clottey could have scored his first goal but decided to go for power and he could have laid a pass for Atsu to finish off.

The return leg will be played in Lilongwe on October 12.

The winner of the two-legged tie will play at the finals to be hosted bySouth Africa next January.

Ghana line-up: 
Adam Kwarasey- Daniel Opare, John Boye, Isaac Vorsah, Harrison Afful-Anthony Annan, Kwadwo Asamoah, Christian Atsu, Jordan Ayew/Derek Boateng, Asamoah Gyan/Emmanuel Clottey, Kwadwo Asamoah, Andre Ayew/Solomon Asante.


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