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Comoros eliminate ten-man Ghana in five-goal AFCON thriller

Goals from El Fardou Ben Nabouhane and Ahmed Mogni led Comoros to a shock 3-2 victory over Ghana to keep their hopes alive at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday. The win moves Comoros into third place in Group C and eliminates Ghana at the group stage of the AFCON for the first time since 2006. Les Coelacanthes will need results elsewhere to go their way but will be ecstatic to earn their first ever points on Africa’s biggest footballing stage.

With both teams needing a win to keep their knockout stage hopes alive, there was no fear of playing attacking football to the great benefit of viewers. The Coelacanths jumped on Ghana at the beginning and were soon rewarded with the opener in the 4th minute. Youssouf Ibroihim turned Ghana left back Baba Rahman, embarking on a dribbling run to the end line before crossing back to find El Fardou Ben. Ben kept his composure and had time to pick out the corner on his low shot past Ghana keeper Joe Wollacott.

Ghana were finally sparked to life with their tournament now on the edge and had opportunities in the opening twenty minutes through center back Alexander Djiku and Kamaldeen Sulemana, but Comoros goalie Salim Ben Boina was there on both occasions. The fortunes of the Black Stars took a further downturn, however, when Ben Boina spilled a shot and was caught by André Ayew as the Ghana captain attacked the loose ball. A review by the Video Assistant Referee determined Ayew’s challenge on the injured Ben Boina was dangerous and he was given a red card to put Ghana down to ten players in the 25th minute.

Despite being down a player, Ghana were spurred on by desperation and the match became an entertaining back-and-forth after the halftime break, particularly in the final thirty minutes. On 61 minutes, Comoros appeared to have the match won when Ben set up Mogni at the edge of the area. The FC Annecy attacker did brilliantly to wind and weave his way past Ghana midfielder Thomas Partey before crafting a precise finish past Wollacott. Only two minutes later Ghana struck right back when Richmond Boakye’s header looped into the net when Comoros replacement keeper Ali Ahamada was caught out of position.

The Black Stars continued their spell of inspired play with the leveler in the 76th minute. Djiku was in the right spot at the far post on a corner kick, turning in from close range when Partey flicked the service across the goal mouth. Ghana’s dreams of a comeback victory were dashed, however, in the 85th minute when Mogni blasted home a first-time finish from a driven cross by right back Benjaloud Youssouf. Comoros held on for jubilant celebrations at the full time whistle to make their first AFCON a memorable one, and the journey may still yet continue.

Highlights are below.

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