Home Sports Football AFCON 2023: Ghana face exit after Mozambique draw, Egypt advance to Round of 16

AFCON 2023: Ghana face exit after Mozambique draw, Egypt advance to Round of 16

7 min read

Mozambique scored twice in second-half stoppage time to almost certainly send Ghana crashing out of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament at the group stage.

The Black Stars looked to be cruising into the last 16 thanks to two Jordan Ayew’s penalties, one in each half.

Just like they did in 2021 AFCON group game against Comoros in Cameroon two years ago, Ghana let the minnows back in and conceded stoppage-time goals to Geny Catamo’s penalty and Reinildo Mandava’s header which combined with Egypt’s draw to surely send them home.

Chris Hughton’s Black Stars led inside the first quarter of an hour when Nanani was guilty of clipping Joseph Paintsil from behind, allowing Ayew to calmly roll his side in front.

Despite Mozambique being one of AFCON’s lowliest nations and a team which has never won a game at the tournament, Ghana failed to push on and endured long spells as the second best side in Abidjan.

A futile push back up the other end was not enough to seal Ghana’s fate, their two points and negative goal difference leaving them in third place and all-but guaranteed to once again fly home from the Cup of Nations after the group stage.

Meanwhile, Egypt have made it through to the last 16 of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament in Cote d’Ivoire after drawing 2-2 with Cape Verde in a dramatic Group B finale in Abidjan on Monday night.

Having drawn their first two games, Egypt’s hopes of progressing in the competition were in danger – and they looked completely over for large parts of the game. But some unbelievable drama right at the end saw them take a late lead and then concede an even later equaliser. Thanks to Ghana’s 2-2 draw with Mozambique, however, a point was enough to send the Pharaohs through to the last 16.

Egypt started the brighter of the two teams and after growing into the game, gave Cape Verde a great scare. Omar Marmoush fired a shot at goal from distance that was saved by goalkeeper Vozinha.

Mostafa Mohamed followed up on the rebound but the Cape Verde No. 1 was strong yet again and pulled off an excellent stop.

It took 32 minutes for Cape Verde to register their first attempt when Gilson Benchimol had a shot from just inside the box diverted wide by a deflection. It was a sign of things to come, too, as the striker blasted them into the lead when Ryan Mendes won the ball with some good pressing, worked it to Kenny Rocha Santos, received it back and nodded to Benchimol for the finish.

Right from the beginning of the second-half, Egypt pushed for an equaliser and it was half-time substitute Trezeguet who lashed it in. He played an excellent one-two with Ahmed Hegazy after Cape Verde failed to clear a corner. The star was certainly fired up as less than two minutes later when he hit a long-range effort that went just wide of the post.

It was all Egypt from then on as Rui Vitoria’s team pushed to find the winner and oh, how they missed Mohamed Salah, as promising attack after promising attack faded away. Most crucially, Mohamed missed the target with a great chance and then Emam Ashour saw a lethal shot stopped by Vozinha, who saved his team from a first defeat on so many occasions.

In the end, though, Mohamed was redeemed when Trezeguet’s awesome long pass sailed towards him and he lifted it over the goalkeeper and into the net to keep his team’s hopes alive. The fun didn’t stop there, though, as Bryan Teixeira scored for Cape Verde to rescue a 2-2 draw, but Egypt were allowed passage to the knockouts thanks to Ghana’s shock capitulations elsewhere in Group B.

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