AFCON 2023: Cape Verde overcome Ghana

Cap-Vert domine le Ghana CAN 2023
AFCON 2023: Cape Verde overcome Ghana

After the draw between Egypt and Mozambique (2-2) in the curtain-raiser to Pool B, Ghana and Cape Verde met at 20:00 GMT. The 2 protagonists were aiming to top the group at the end of Matchday 1. To everyone's surprise, Cape Verde came out on top (2-1), taking sole possession of the lead in Pool B (3 points).

Cape Verde dominate proceedings and take the logical lead at the end of the 1st half

Cape Verde dominated the 1st quarter with 63% of possession. The team was logically rewarded for its commitment in the 17th minute. This was the result of an action in midfield, with 3 players splitting passes, which led to a shot from outside the area, parried by Jamiro Monteiro. The latter placed the ball beyond the reach of Ghanaian goalkeeper Ofori. Ghana tried to react immediately to a breakthrough by Paintsil, but the player came under pressure from a Cape Verdean defender in the box and claimed a penalty, which was not awarded.

Ghana's first shot came on 27 minutes, when Mensah's cross from the left was met by Königsdörffer. Unfortunately, the ball went wide. Ghana finally got going on 35 minutes, when Semenyo's cross was tipped onto the post by Königsdörffe. From the restart, the Black Stars thought they were back on level terms, when Ashimeru fired home from 20m. But the ball was eventually disallowed for offside by a Ghanaian who obstructed the view of Cape Verde keeper Vozinha.

In the 42nd minute, the Blue Sharks responded with a fine breakthrough by Cabral in the box. But his shot was narrowly saved by Alexander Djiku. Cape Verde deserved to take the lead at the break, having dominated the first 45 minutes with their fists, 61% of possession, and 2 shots on target compared to 0 for Ghana, who were not enterprising enough apart from one action.

Ghana settle in the second half but pay for their mistakes

Cape Verde came back from the break with the same intentions. In the 47th minute, Idrissu Baba was fouled on the edge of the box after losing possession. Bebé fired the ball over the barricade. In the 55th minute, Djiku equalised from a corner with a header, rewarding the slight improvement in Ghana's play in the second half.

In the 60th minute, Semenyo made yet another run down the right and crossed for Paintsil, who failed to hit the target in the empty net. In the (61st min), Ghanaian coach Chris Hughton changed 3 attacking players, in a Ghanaian moment of strength. In the 64th minute, Nuamah put his speed to good use and tried a powerful shot that was blocked by a Ghanaian foot. The tide had turned, Ghana were dominating proceedings and overall possession was evenly balanced.

In the 66th minute, Bebé took advantage of a poor Ghanaian back-pass to run in front of goal. But he was once again caught by Djiku. In the 71st minute, Bebé again took advantage of a cross-back, but Djiku's foot took it away.

Ghana's chaotic finish

The pace of the match then slowed down a little, before Cabral woke up the fans with an infiltration into the box on the 82nd minute. After passing between 2 players, he found himself in front of the keeper, who was a little off balance. However, Richard Ofori kept a watchful eye on the ball, taking it out with his foot in opposition. In the 89th minute, Ofori made another fine save from Garry Rodrigues, who had launched himself from midfield.

Rodrigues wasted no time in converting a succession of Ghanaian errors (3 minutes later) from a Cape Verdean touch. He accompanied the ball, which found itself magically in front of the opposing goal in the 92nd minute.

Ghana almost equalized from the restart. But Ghana's header from a precise cross flew wide. The score remained same. A well-deserved victory for Cape Verde.


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