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2023 AFCONQ Group E: Group favorites Ghana and Angola draw on the road

All four teams in Group E of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying were in action on Sunday and both matches ended 1-1 with Ghana and Angola establishing themselves as favorites to qualify out of the group. Ghana took an early lead against Central African Republic in Angola through Mohammed Kudus but the designated hosts fought back to level through a goal from Karl Namnganda. Angola did excellently to fight back for a well earned road point in a notoriously difficult place to play, splitting the points with Madagascar in Antananarivo.

Ghana traveled to Luanda, Angola for a matchup against Central African Republic and Les Fauves once again proved themselves to be a team that is more than capable of punching above their weight. After half chances for both teams in the opening fifteen minutes the Black Stars showed their class to take the lead in the 17th. Kudus combined well on the right wing with Osman Bukari and Felix Afena-Gyan to open up a shooting lane and the AFC Ajax playmaker curled a left-footed effort inside the far post to beat Fauves goalkeeper Aladun Kolingba.

The hosts kept the match competitive and the favorites within their reach, finding a leveler soon before halftime. Brad Pirioua provided a well weighted through ball from midfield to send the pacey Namnganda behind the Ghanaian defense. With two defenders closing in the forward unleashed a strong shot past Black Stars goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi. The second half was uneventful outside of a concerning clash of heads close to the hour mark that resulted in Ghana center back Jonathan Mensah being taken to the hospital.

Angola will be more satisfied than Ghana with their own draw on the road in the Malagasy capital. The hosts took the lead under odd circumstances following a water break with ten minutes left in the first half. While Angolan defenders continued to hold a discussion, play restarted and Madagascar’s Njiva Rakotoharimalala was wide open on the left wing to close in on goal before rounding keeper Hugo Marques and finishing into the empty net.

The visitors rallied despite the loss of focus, however, and managed to find an equalizer soon before halftime. Veteran attacker Fredy drove down the right wing and curled in a precise cross to find Gelson Dala, who finished with a diving header for his second goal in two matches. An even second half left little to separate the teams as the home support left disappointed at not being able to obtain maximum points.

Highlights from both games are below.

Central African Republic 1-1 Ghana

Madagascar 1-1 Angola

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