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Sports News Wed, 26 Jun 2019

2019 AFCON: Stars labour for 2:2 draw with Benin

Black Stars defender John Boye provided one of the key talking points of his team’s blunted outing against regional neighbours Benin at the ongoing African Cup of Nations, Egypt 2019, against whom they laboured timidly for a hard fought 2:2 draw.

The campaign for a continental glory in 37 years had somewhat assumed an expected momentum when the team led 2:1 with 54 minutes played when he carelessly drew for himself the second yellow card and a consequent red, leaving his colleagues to overwork themselves for survival.

Spectacular goals by the Ayew brothers canceled out what so far stands as the fastest goal of the tournament when Benin raced into a second minute lead through striker Mickael Pote who scrambled home from close range.

Skipper Dede Ayew, much against the run of the aggressive play of the Beninois, squeezed a low grounder past a couple of legs and beyond the outstretched hands of keeper Fabien Farnolle in the 9th minute to offer Ghana the equalizer and a much-needed breather.

That goal seemed to have served enough warning to the opponents as to the quality and nature of the team they were playing. They recoiled into midfield and only offered dangerous crosses that suited their tall strikers to occasionally threaten the Black Stars.

Indeed, the Black Stars defence appeared lethargic on several occasions as the Beninois cut through their set up only to run shot of ideas in front of goal. Resulting corner kicks equally went waste.

In the 37th minute, John Boye picked the first yellow card of the game with a dangerous foot up tackle.

Then came the 42nd minute and Jordan would trap well a Mubarak Wakasu pass, leave a defender trailing before letting go a rifling right footed shot to give Ghana the advantage.

The second half started with the hyper aggressive Sessi D’Almeida picking the yellow card for shirt tugging when the game was less a minute into the second half. Thereafter, a Beninois siege on the Ghana goal area lasting the next two minutes ended in a goal kick for Ghana. John Boye elected to restart the game, however after standing behind the ball for a while, he decided to let that duty be undertaken by his goalkeeper Richard Ofori. As Boye trotted away from the ball, he was met with the second yellow card and then the red to exit the game.

The disadvantage forced Kwesi Appiah to resort to a defensive play and pulled out the enterprising Samuel Owusu from midfield for defender Jonathan Mensah.

The Stars then came under sustained pressure, capitulating eventually in the 63rd minute when striker Pote backheeled a spilled corner kick for his side’s equalizer.

Smarting under the mounting pressure of the Squirrels of Benin, Thomas Partey managed to create some space for himself from where he hit a powerful, goal-bound shot only to see goalkeeper Farnolle palm it out to corner.

Ghana next plays group leaders Cameroon on Saturday, while Benin and Guinea Bissau, the other Group F contenders also slug it out same day. Cameroon had earlier beaten Guinea Biassau.

Source: Graphic.com.gh
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