Ghana were eliminated from the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations after they conceded two late goals to draw 2-2 with Mozambique at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium on Monday night.
A penalty in each half from Jordan Ayew put the Black Stars in the driver’s seat, but Geny Catamo pulled one back from the spot in the first minute of stoppage time before Reinildo Mandava capitalised on a blunder from Richard Ofori to head home the equaliser from a corner in the 94th minute.
Chris Hughton’s side finished third in Group B on two points, one behind Egypt – who also drew 2-2 with Cape Verde in the concurrent fixture at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium – but a minus one goal difference means the West Africans cannot qualify for the last 16 as one of the best third-placed teams.
Ghana threatened as early as the opening minute when Ayew held off two defenders before laying the ball off for Antoine Semenyo, whose shot from outside the box was tipped over the crossbar by Ivane Urrubal.
But neither team managed to take control in the opening stages due in part to the bumpy playing surface, although a tactical ploy from the West Africans brought the opening goal on the quarter-hour mark.
Joseph Paintsil had switched wings with Ayew and the former drew a foul from Nanani after bursting into the area, with a penalty being awarded following a VAR check.
The Crystal Palace forward placed his spot-kick into the bottom right corner of the net, leaving Urrubal rooted to the spot.
The Black Stars suffered a setback on 37 minutes though, when Majeed Ashimeru picked up an innocuous injury after back-heeling the ball to Salis Abdul Samed and the Anderlecht midfielder had to be replaced by Iddrisu Baba.
Chiquinho Conde’s finally created their first chance of the game three minutes before halftime as Witi lashed a shot over the target from distance after making a driving run towards the box.
They should have been level three minutes after the restart, but Lau King planted a free header wide of the left post from Witi’s cross following a spell of sustained pressure early in the second half, which also saw Ofori deny Bruno Langa on 50 minutes after being teed up by the Sagrada Esperanca striker.
Alfons Amade then tested Ofori with a looping header from a corner in the 55th minute, although their efforts to get back into the game were undone 11 minutes later when Mohammed Kudus’s volley struck Mandava on the arm inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot once more.
VAR checked the incident and the match official’s decision was allowed to stand, with Ayew sending Urrubal the wrong way after placing his spot-kick into the bottom left corner of the net this time around.
There was more drama to come late on though, after the Mambas were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute for a handball on Andre Ayew and Catamo beat Ofori from the spot to give them hope.
A mistake from Ofori would prove costly in the 94th minute when he decided to keep the ball in play after it appeared to be going out for a goal-kick.
However, the goalkeeper conceded a corner in the process and Mandava headed home the set-piece to make amends for his handball earlier in the second half.
Mozambique: (0) 2 (Catamo 90+1′ PEN, Mandava 90+4′)
Ghana: (1) 2 (J. Ayew 15′ PEN, 70′ PEN)
Mozambique: I. Urrubal, Nanani, Mexer, R. Mandava, B. Langa, A. Amade (E. Pelembe 73′), Nene (S. Ratifo 73′), Witi (Gildo 61′), Guima (Shaquille 87′), G. Catamo, L. King (J. Bonde 87′).
Ghana: R. Ofori, D. Odoi (A. Seidu 72′), A. Djiku, M. Salisu, G. Mensah, S. Abdul Samed, M. Ashimeru (I. Baba 37′), J. Paintsil (A. Ayew 46′), M. Kudus (I. Williams 89′), J. Ayew, A. Semenyo (D. Amartey 72′).
Source: Backpage TXT