AFCON 2017: Ghana beat Uganda in AFCON opener


The senior national team, the Black Stars of Ghana kicked off their 2017 Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-0 win against the Cranes of Uganda. Coach Avram Grant named a strong starting line-up that saw debutant Thomas Partey partner Mubarak Wakaso in midfield and an attack force of Captain Asamoah Gyan, Dede Ayew, Jordan Ayew and Christian Atsu. Ghana started on an impressive note as the likes of Jordan and Atsu put the Ugandans on the back foot a few times. As early as the six minute, Ghana created her first chance through Jordan Ayew who hopped down the left to reach the byline and scoped the ball back to Atsu on the edge of the box. Chances fell to both Thomas Partey and Andrew Ayew in the first half but neither found its way to the goal post. The Cranes of Uganda started growing in to the game and made a couple of attempts in Ghana’s half until the 31 minute when Gyan dispossessed Uganda defender Isinde in the 18-yard box, to which the defender reacted by pulling him back and a spot kick was awarded to Ghana. Dede Ayew stepped up to dispatch the penalty with aplomb to secure Ghana’s first three points in the competition. Ghana’s celebration mood was however cut short in the 38 minute, when left back Baba Rahman after stretching for a ball on the edge of the Cranes area twisted his leg and called for a sub. He was taken off on a stretcher, and replaced by RSC Anderlecht winger Frank Acheampong. The Black Stars went off the boil in the second half as the Cranes of Uganda mustered an early rally in search of an equalizer. They kept threatening the Stars half but a resolute John Boye and Daniel Armatey managed to weather their surge. Frank Acheampong, who must have been playing the left back position for the first time for the Black Stars in such a high octane encounter began on a jittery note but settled in well as the match progressed. Former Asante Kotoko and Uganda left back Ochaya caused Harrison Afful a lot of problems with his surging runs and crosses into Ghana’s box especially in the dying embers of the game. Skipper Asamoah Gyan was substituted in the 72th minute when he started showing signs of tiredness for Agyeman Badu’s industry to shore up the midfield. As the Ugandans intensified their attack at the half of the Black Stars, Coach Avram Grant brought on Afriyie Acquah for Jordan Ayew in the 85th minute to defend his goal . The Black Stars held firm to protect their goal to the last minute to grab an important 3points ahead of games against Egypt and Mali.

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