Asamoah Gyan moved to the top of Ghana’s all-time scorers list as he grabbed a brace in a crucial 3-1 away win over Sudan on Friday.
The 27-year-old notched the 33rd and 34th strikes of his international career to overtake Abedi Pele as the greatest goalscorer in the African country’s history.
His goals also helped Ghana move top of CAF qualifying Group D, having played a game more than deposed leaders Zambia.
Gyan scored the first of his historic double early in the first half, emphatically slamming home to give the visitors the lead following some poor defending.
However, Sudan were soon level, with Mudathir Al Tayeb making no mistake from the penalty spot after he was felled in the box by Richard Boateng – who saw red for what was a poor challenge.
Gyan would not be denied his starring role, though, and he delicately headed home just after the hour mark before Sulley Muntari netted straight from a corner to add gloss to the scoreline in the 89th minute.
Kwesi Appiah’s side had looked on course for a decidedly more routine victory when Gyan grabbed his first goal courtesy of chaos in the hosts’ defence.
Richmond Boakye saw his shot well blocked after finding himself in on goal but, after Sudan hopelessly failed to clear, Gyan was on hand to half-volley home from close range.
The hosts would not lie down, however, and gained the opportunity to draw level when Boateng needlessly brought down Al Tayeb to concede a penalty after half an hour.
The defender was sent off for that foul, and his mistake was compounded as Al Tayeb stepped up to coolly dispatch the spot-kick.
Espanyol winger Mubarak Wakaso was sacrificed by Appiah not long after, with Samuel Inkoom coming in as his replacement to help see the visitors into the break still level.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Ghana looked the more likely to score again in the early stages of the second half against a Sudan team who had earned just one point in three qualification games thus far.
And so it proved as, just after the hour mark, Gyan wrote his name into the history books with a well-taken header.
The Al Ain forward leapt impressively above the Sudan defence to flick a header in from Harrison Afful’s inswinging cross from the left-hand side.
The visitors were largely unthreatened from that point onward, but Muntari still had time to double Ghana’s lead.
The Milan midfielder saw his corner delivery escape the grasp of goalkeeper Ehab Mohammed Abdelfatah and nestle in the net – though the quality of his strike is likely to be overshadowed by Gyan’s achievement.
Sudan’s hopes of reaching the World Cup were ended by defeat, while Ghana are now in a strong position to reach Brazil.