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 starting off a dominant performance that makes the Black Stars overwhelming favorites to become one of five African teams at the tournament in Brazil next year.
Gyan scored twice, once in each half, while Wael Gomaa had an own goal for Egypt 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 raised hopes of a remarkable and long-awaited achievement by battling through two years of violent unrest at home to make the final 10-team playoffs.
But Ghana, the 2010 World Cup quarterfinalist, was way too strong at home at Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi to put itself in position to progress.
After struggling badly at the start, Egypt responded through a 41st-minute penalty by Mohamed Aboutrika for 2-1, only for an unrelenting Ghana to respond with four more goals. Majeed Waris put the home team two goals clear again before halftime, and Gyan scored again after the break. Sulley Muntari added a penalty in the 72nd before a last-minute strike by Christian Atsu ensured Ghana will take seemingly insurmountable lead into the second leg next month.
It's still unclear where that second leg will be played after Egypt initially said it would be in Cairo and in front of fans - which would be the first international held in the violence-hit capital in two years. FIFA is still reviewing security arrangements.
Gyan scored with a right-footed shot inside five minutes for an early lead and Egypt goalkeeper Sheri Ekramy had to make two sharp saves to deny the Ghanaians another two goals in the first 20 minutes. But Ekramy was helpless when Gomaa deflected Michael Essien's shot into the net in the 22nd.
Mohamed Salah was fouled to set up Aboutrika's penalty just before halftime, only for Waris' header to make it 3-1 minutes later.
Gyan struck for his second with another header in the 53rd, Muntari scored the fifth from the spot after Waris was fouled with 20 minutes to go and Atsu's powerful shot with a minute left capped a surprisingly one-sided first leg. Egypt was the only African team to win all six of its games in the group stage of the qualifying campaign.