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Football | Afcon 2017

Asamoah Gyan © Backpagepix

Ghana blow Group C wide open



Ghana blew Group C at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations wide open with a last-gasp 1-0 win over Algeria at Estadio de Mongomo on Friday evening.

Asamoah Gyan, who returned to the team after a minor bout of Malaria, scored the Black Stars’ winner in injury time at the end of the game. The result sees the West Africans join Senegal (who play South Africa later tonight) and Algeria on three points at the top of the pool.

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The Black Stars made two changes from their 2-1 loss to Senegal, the most notable of which saw Asamoah Gyan return upfront, necessitating a switch to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation.

The Fennec Foxes made three changes to the team that beat South Africa 3-1, with Madjid Bougherra replacing Rafik Halliche in defence, while attackers Saphir Taider and Ishak Belfodil were drafted into the line-up.

Algeria started the stronger of the two teams, with their short passing and intelligent movement off the ball leaving Ghana struggling to win possession for any significant time.

And the North Africans created a great chance to open the scoring in the 20th minute, with Saphir Taider providing a pull-back from the right by-line for Nabil Bentaleb, but the Tottenham Hotspur player scuffed his shot wide of the target.

That opportunity was the only notable one of the first 45 minutes. The first half was characterised more by scrappy play and solid defence than any notable attacking play – this despite the impressive quality in the ranks of both sides.

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Ghana started the second half with their attack looking much livelier. On 52 minutes right-back Harrison Afful provided a fine cross from the right that found the head of Gyan, but the striker’s glancing effort was just wide.

The West Africans continued to look the likelier scorers as the second half progressed, though Algeria were dangerous on the counter attack. They proved this in the 66th minute with a chance for Bentaleb that the midfielder fired just wide of the far post.

The match looked destined to end in a stalemate, but in the second minute of injury time a hopeful long ball out of Ghana’s defence saw Gyan beat Carl Medjani for pace and shoot across goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi to net the winner.

Ghana XI: Brimah, Afful, Rahman, Amartey, Mensah, Acquah, A. Ayew, Badu, Atsu, Gyan, J. Ayew

Algeria XI: M'Bolhi, Mandi, Bougherra, Medjani, Ghoulam, Lacen, Taider, Bentaleb, Brahimi, Feghouli, Belfodil



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