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Ghana stunned by Cape Verde in AFCON opener

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CAPE VERDE
Cape Verde's Garry Rodrigues celebrates his late winner. PHOTO/CAF
  • Ghana were beaten 2-1 by Cape Verde
  • Cape Verde scored a 92nd minute winner
  • Egypt were held to a 2-2 draw by Mozambique

Ghana were stunned by Cape Verde, as Garry Rodrigues scored the winner in the 92nd minute in a memorable 2-1 stunning victory, in their opening Group B match of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan.

The Black Stars had worked hard to draw back level with Alexander Djiku’s bullet header cancelling out Jamiro Monteiro’s 17th minute goal, but the Blue Sharks battled till the end to score in added time and pick a valuable three points.

Monteiro had scored the opener for the islanders in the 17th minute, reacting quickest to a lose ball after keeper Richard Ofori had palmed away Jovane’s shot.

Ghana thought they had levelled the scores 10 minutes to halftime when Majeed Ashimeru struck a long range shot, but after consulting VAR, the goal was chalked off after Ransford Konigsdorffer was adjudged to have blocked the keeper’s view from an offside position.

Ashimeru had picked the ball at the edge of the box after Cape Verde had half cleared when the ball ricocheted off the post from Konigsdorffer’s connection from a cross.

Seeing that they had the opportunities and should do better in the final third, Ghana were more resolute in the second half. They increased their attacks, and were rewarded in the 56th minute when Djiku strongly headed home from inside the six yard box from a Jordan Ayew corner.

Ghana increase forays upfront 

Ghana

Ghana defender Alex Djiku celebrates his equalizer. photo/CAF

With the equalizer, Ghana increased their forays upfront, but couldn’t add the second. Cape Verde had some chances and Djiku had to be at his best to make a brilliant clearance to deny Bebe in the 72nd minute.

The alarm bells were ringing for Ghana and they were punished in the second minute of added time when Rodrigues tapped home from close range from after substitute Benchimol poked the ball off the keeper’s path.

Rodrigues got his goal just minutes after he had seen another close opportunity blocked off by Ofori. With the late goal, there was no way back for the Black Stars as the islanders defended their sle3nder advantage well.

The victory sees Cape Verde move top of the group with three points, with Mozambique having held Egypt to a draw in the early kick off at the same venue.

Captain Mohammed Salah scored a 97th minute VAR-awarded penalty as the Egyptians secured a 2-2 draw against the Mambas of Mozambique.

Mozambique were on the way for a historic first ever victory at the AFCON after Witness Ouembo and Clesio Bauque had cancelled out Mostafa Mohamed’s early goal, but Salah ensured Egypt got off with at least a point in the duel.

VAR called to check 

Egypt

Mohamed Mostafa of Egypt shoots to score against Mozambique. PHOTO/CAF

The VAR had called the centre referee to the pitchside monitor to review a challenge from Domingos Macandza on Mostafa, and the official awarded a spot kick, expertly tucked home by Salah.

Egypt had enjoyed a dream start to the match, Mostafa breaking the deadlock after just 89 seconds with a brilliant shot on the turn after Salah’s attempt to take on a cross from the right was miscued.

Mostafa had been a thorn in Mozambique’s flesh for most of the opening minutes and had another chance saved by the keeper just after scoring.

In the second half though, Mozambique turned the game around within three minutes. Ouembo levelled matters in the 55th minute when he headed home from a cross on the right.

In the 58th minute, they were 2-1 up when when Bauque ran on a through ball, skipping beyond Ahmed Hegazy and brilliantly putting away the ball beyond the keeper.

Mozambique managed to hold on to the lead, but a needless challenge inside the box undid all their hard work.

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