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AFCON 2023: Stoppage time winner gives Cape Verde three points at Ghana’s expense

The first round of Group B matches at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations ended in heartbreak for Ghana after Garry Rodrigues tapped in the match winner in stoppage time to give Cape Verde a 2-1 victory at the Stade Félix-Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan. Jamiro Monteiro opened the scoring for Cape Verde in the first half before Ghana leveled through a header from Alexander Djiku, setting the stage for the dramatic late goal from Rodrigues. Ghana will have to regroup with a difficult match ahead against Egypt on Thursday with a duel against Mozambique ahead for Cape Verde.

Cape Verde controlled possession in the early stages while Ghana attempted to strike on the break but the Blue Sharks were rewarded for their stronger play in the 10th minute. Right back Steven Moreira exchanged passes to burst down the flank and laid off a pass for Jovane Cabral, whose shot was parried by Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori right to Monteiro for an easy finish into the unguarded net.

The Black Stars improved their play over the course of the opening forty-five minutes, nearly finding the equalizer from a cross by Gideon Mensah in the 26th minute but Ransford-Yeboah Königsdorffer scuffed his shot wide. Königsdorffer was involved ten minutes later when he redirected an Antoine Semenyo cross off the post, soon after which Majeed Ashimeru struck a powerful shot past Cape Verde keeper Vozinha for an apparent equalizer. However, Königsdorffer  remained offsides in the course of play and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) determined that the Hamburger SV attacker obscured the vision of Vozinha to rule the goal out.

Ghana continued to look more threatening after halftime and their leveler was well deserved in the 56th minute. Jordan Ayew’s corner kick found its way to Djiku who stooped down to direct a placed header into the corner leaving Vozinha with no chance. Only a timely challenge at the far post from Cape Verde left back João Paulo prevented Joseph Paintsil from putting the Black Stars into the lead on the hour mark after excellent work and a low cross from Semenyo.

The two teams exchanged opportunities in the final half hour and it appeared that a draw would be the end result heading into stoppage time. However in the second minute an apparently harmless early cross from the left wing caused chaos in the Ghanaian penalty area, allowing Cape Verde forward Gilson Tavares to sneak in ahead of Ofori and tap the ball to fellow substitute Garry Rodrigues who passed into an empty net to spark wild celebrations from the victorious Blue Sharks.

Highlights from the thrilling Group B clash are below.

Match Highlights

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