Ghana 1-2 Cape Verde: Late goal from Blue Sharks condemn Black Stars to a loss
Garry Rodrigues scored a thrilling stoppage-time victory as the Cape Verde Islands defeated four-time winners Ghana 2-1 in Group B on Sunday, continuing a string of unexpected results at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
It was the third encounter of the day in Abidjan, following Nigeria’s tie with Equatorial Guinea in Group A, and Egypt’s draw with Mozambique in the first Group B match at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium.
In the 17th minute, Dutch-born Rodrigues’ effort was parried by Ghana custodian Richard Ofori and fell for Jamiro Monteiro to tuck away from close range.
Alexander Djiku headed home from Jordan Ayew’s corner 11 minutes into the second half, stooping to get his head to it after the Cape Verde defenders failed to clear a simple delivery.
Egypt had earlier drawn 2-2 with Mozambique.
However, with the scant 12 places separating the teams in the world rankings, what could have been a shocking setback for four-time Afcon winners Ghana may not be considered a significant upset.
The West Africans were eliminated in the group round in the 2021 finals, while Cape Verde advanced to the last 16 before losing to eventual champions Senegal, while Chris Hughton’s Black Stars’ recent performances and results have been lacklustre.
Before Benchimol set up his fellow replacement, Ofori had put out his left foot to prevent the energetic Jovane Cabral and also parried a shot from Rodrigues, sparking emotional scenes as the Blue Sharks players celebrated with supporters in the bleachers.
Ghana believed they had equalised nine minutes before halftime, but Majeed Ashimeru’s magnificent long-range goal was ruled out for offside after a lengthy VAR review.
After examining his touchline screen, referee Jean-Jacques Ndala Ngambo determined that Ransford Konigsdorffer, who had struck the post minutes earlier, was obstructing Blue Sharks goalie Vozinha’s eyeline within the area.
Djiku levelled the game in the 56th minute, fighting off his marker six yards out and sliding Jordan Ayew’s corner inside the left-hand upright, although it was Ghana’s last shot on goal.
Andre Ayew, who was introduced as Black Stars captain in the 62nd minute, became the third man to feature in eight Afcon finals, matching the record set by former Cameroon defender Rigobert Song and ex-Egypt midfielder Ahmed Hassan.
Having previously played for Swansea, West Ham, and Nottingham Forest, the 34-year-old may set a new record for scoring in seven separate tournaments.
However, following Rodrigues’ late heroics, Ghana will face Egypt in their second Group B match on Thursday (20:00 GMT), before Cape Verde takes on Mozambique the following day.