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Gabon sneaks late equalizer to spoil Ayew’s first half blast

In a largely uneventful match, Ghana and Gabon each had a moment of individual brilliance to end deadlocked at 1-1 on Friday at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. André Ayew scored one of the best goals of the competition so far to put the Black Stars up in the first half, but could not expand their lead and paid dearly for it following Jim Allevinah’s leveler late on. Ghana now face a must-win match against Comoros while Gabon take on Morocco knowing qualification is all but secure from Group C.

The Black Stars once again struggled in the attack and failed to consistently generate opportunities. With young playmaker Mohammed Kudus still out due to injury, Kofi was called into the lineup to provide a spark but Kudus’s absence was notable. Gabon reportedly had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina back from Covid-19, but neither player was utilized by manager Patrice Neveu.

Gabon had the first opportunity of the match in the 6th minute. An early scare for Ghana occurred when goalkeeper Joe Wollacott came out to claim a ball but had it headed away by his own defender to the edge of the penalty area. After an initial shot deflected to Gabon center back Bruno Ecuele Manga in a shooting position near the 6-yard box, an excellent block from the Ghanaian defense prevented Gabon from opening the scoring.

Ayew’s magical moment came in the 18th minute and was a huge boost to Ghana and the Black Stars support. A pass from the right flank found Ayew centrally, who left Gabonese defender Anthony Oyono in the dust as he turned past him and then uncorked a low bullet of a shot past Jean-Noël Amonome. It took a while for Gabon to recover due to the show stopping nature of Ayew’s drive.

Ghana’s influence gradually faded as the match progressed and after going into the halftime break with the lead, Gabon started to control affairs. For large patches of the second half both teams struggled, and it appeared that despite Ghana’s weak performance the individual moment from Ayew would take them to three points. However, late on it was Allevinah who received the ball on the left side of the Ghanaian penalty area and the Clermont Foot player drilled a low shot beyond Wollacott for the crucial equalizer.

Video of the two goals are below.

18′- André Ayew Golazo

88′- Allevinah levels for Gabon

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