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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

2023 AFCON Qualifying Group E: Substitutes inspire Ghana to snatch a point in Angola

Ghana remained the leaders in Group E of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying after the Black Stars came back from a goal down to draw Angola 1-1 in Luanda on Monday. Joseph Paintsil set up fellow substitute Osman Bukari for a second half goal to cancel out a penalty kick finish from Angola’s Lucas João, leaving Ghana one point clear of second placed Central African Republic who defeated Madagascar 2-0 earlier in the day. A disappointing result at home leaves Angola three points back of Ghana with plenty of work ahead for the Palancas Negras.

It was a positive start for Angola who were energized by the home support at the Estádio 11 de Novembro. Petro de Luanda forward Gilberto was particularly influential for the hosts but the Ghanaian defense held their ground and kept Angola from producing clear opportunities before the halftime whistle arrived with the match scoreless.

Angola got their breakthrough within the opening five minutes of the second half when attacker Gelson Dala was bundled over by Ghana captain Daniel Amartey for a foul, resulting in Lucas João beating goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi with his spot kick. Ghana head coach Chris Hughton brought in several attacking substitutions and they changed the match for the struggling Black Stars, especially KRC Genk’s Paintsil whose speed caused issues for the Angolan defense.

A quick break for Ghana saw Paintsil push into space on the right flank before crossing low to a wide open Bukari who equalized with his first touch by shooting past Angola keeper Neblú. Angola coach Pedro Gonçalves attempted to inspire his side with his own attacking changes but the hosts could not find a way through the Black Stars defense a second time and Ghana held on for a valuable point away from home.

In the earlier match on Monday, Les Fauves of Central African Republic took a big step forward towards qualifying for their first ever Africa Cup of Nations by defeating Madagascar 2-0 in Douala, Cameroon. Louis Mafouta was a menace for the Barea once again, scoring both goals to equal his total earlier in the week when Les Fauves won in Antananarivo.

Angola 1-1 Ghana