Ghana’s AFCON hopes on knife-edge after draw with Gabon

A late goal inspires Panthers of Gabon to draw with the Black Stars of Ghana in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon

Jim Allevinah’s 88th minute strike drew things level in the Group C fixture at the continental showpiece. His late Jim Allevinah effort denied Ghana three points as they played out a 1-1 draw with Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday.

Andre Ayew netted in the first half to put the Black Stars ahead but the substitute’s second-half strike levelled the score in the Group C matchday two fixture at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in the Cameroonian capital of Yaounde.

The result leaves the four-time champions third on the table with one point, three behind second-placed Gabon, while Morocco, who beat Comoros 2-0 in the first game of the group on Friday, lead the log.

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac made one change to his starting line-up, dropping Genk’s Joseph Paintsil for Germany-born Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, who played behind main striker Andre.

Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew, who led the lines in the Black Stars’ opening game, moved to the right-wing.

Like in their first match, Gabon were without talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was completely missing from the matchday squad despite resuming training with the side after a COVID-19 episode.

In the Arsenal man’s absence, Qatar-based Aaron Salem Boupendza and Saint-Etienne attacker Denis Bouanga led the attack for the Panthers.

Gabon almost opened the scoring early in the fifth minute but for Alexander Djiku’s timely intervention to block Bruno Ecuele Manga’s goal-bound shot for a corner.

Five minutes later, Kyereh produced Ghana’s first real goal attempt with a feeble shot which failed to harm the opposition.

In the 17th minute, the four-time champions broke the deadlock when Andre received a Partey pass from midfield, turned around marker Anthony Oyono before firing a low left-footed shot from outside the box past goalkeeper Jean Noel Amonome.

Two minutes prior to half-time, Bouanga tested Joseph Wollacott with a long-range free-kick in the Panthers’ search for an equaliser but his effort proved no trouble for the Black Stars goalkeeper.

After the half-time break, Gabon continued from where they left off as Junior Assoumou headed a corner over the bar.

Struggling to create clear openings, Guelor Kanga attempted another long-range effort but Wollacott coolly collected the shot.

In a half where Ghana failed to cause any serious attacking trouble for their opponents, Jordan’s wide 80th-minute free-kick was the Black Stars’ closest goal attempt.

Still at this point, the Panthers had not given up as Boupendza shot into the side netting in the 85th minute.

Three minutes later, their determination was rewarded as substitute Jim Allevinah fired a shot from inside the box past Wollacott after being picked out on the break.

Ghana almost won it at the death when Partey connected to a corner but his header looped over the bar for what was the last major scoring opportunity of the game.

The Black Stars will wrap up their group stage campaign with a clash with Comoros on Tuesday, the same time Gabon takes on Morocco.

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