Ghana are off to a winning start at the 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco following a 3-2 victory over Republic of Congo in their Group A opener on Sunday. Ernest Nuamah opened the scoring on an assist by Emmanuel Yeboah and the halftime substitute added a goal himself as well as a penalty kick later on. Ghana move level with Morocco at the top of the group and will face the hosts next on Tuesday. Congo, meanwhile, will attempt to earn their first points against Guinea.
The Black Meteors failed to impress in the first half with Nuamah the only substantial threat to the Congolese defense. Ghana goalkeeper Ibrahim Danlad was the busier of the goalkeepers but had little trouble dealing with Congo’s two shots on target which were struck right at the Asante Kotoko shot stopper.
Ghana coach Ibrahim Tanko substituted the ineffective Daniel Afriyie and Sylvester Simba and it was Yeboah who came on to add the spark the Black Meteors needed. In the 50th minute the CFR Cluj player was sent in on the right wing and provided a low cross to find Nuamah at the far post for an easy finish past Congo keeper Dhody Foutou.
Yeboah did excellently to double Ghana’s lead in the 75th minute when he ran onto a long ball from the defense to get behind his marker on the left wing and finish past Foutou. Ghana finished off a dominant second half when Edmund Arko-Mensah was tripped up in the Congolese penalty area for a spot kick. Arko-Mensah squandered two attempts but Foutou was judged to have come off his line prematurely on both occasions, leaving Yeboah to step up and convert on the third attempt.
Ghanaian supporters will not be pleased with two goals conceded in quick succession late on as the Congolese made a desperate charge in second half stoppage time. Coton Sport player Reich Kokolo headed in a free kick service in the second minute and seconds later the Ghanaian lead was down to one goal after Yann Ngatse fired past Ibrahim. However the remarkable rally came just short as an uncertain Ghanaian defense did just enough to hold on.
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