Ghana suffered a humiliating group-stage exit at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations after the four-time champions were beaten by debutants Comoros. El Fardou Ben Nabouhane put the islanders ahead early on, and Ghana then went down to 10 men when captain Andre Ayew was shown a straight red card.
Ahmed Mogni doubled the lead before the Black Stars fought back to make it 2-2. However, Mogni tapped in his second in the 85th minute to inflict Ghana’s first group-stage exit since 2006.
The result in Group C will go down as one of the biggest shocks in Nations Cup history as Comoros scored at the finals for the first time and then went on to record a memorable maiden victory. Incredibly, the side ranked 132nd in the world has a chance to reach the knockout stages as one of four best-ranked third-placed sides.
Ghana had put in disjointed displays in their first two games, a 1-0 defeat to Morocco and a niggle 1-1 draw with Gabon, and finish bottom of the group table despite putting in a spirited display following Ayew’s 25th-minute sending off.
They came back from 2-0 down as Richmond Boakye’s header and Alexander Djiku, with a close-range finish, struck in the space of 13 minutes. But their fans in the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua looked stunned at the full-time whistle, being left to contemplate a rollercoaster second half which ended Ghana’s bid for a first Nations Cup title since 1982.
Their exit in Cameroon will increase the pressure on coach Milovan Rajevac, who returned for a second spell in charge in September. The Serbian led the Black Stars to the Nations Cup final in 2010 and the World Cup quarter-finals the same year and guided the West Africans through to Africa’s play-offs for this year’s World Cup.
However, Ghana only won their qualifying group ahead of South Africa on goals scored and are unseeded for the play-off draw where they will face one of Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Nigeria for a place in Qatar.
Comoros, meanwhile, await the final round of matches in the remaining three groups to see if their stunning victory can extend their stay at the Tournament.
Photo credit: GFA COMMUNICATIONS
Reported by Sports Director: Sylvester Tamba
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