Jordan Ayew of Ghana is challenged by Johann Serge Obiang of Gabon during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals football match between Gabon and Ghana at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on 14 January 2022 ©Alain Suffo/BackpagePix
Friday Jan 14, 2022. 23:27
Ghana were denied their first win at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations
after being held to a 1-1 draw by Gabon at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Friday night.
Andre Ayew’s sumptuous strike on 18 minutes looked to have secured victory for Milovan Rajevac’s side before Jim Allevinah stepped off the bench to rescue a late point for the Panthers and take them up to second in Group C on four points, two behind Morocco.
The Black stars now need to beat the Comoros to stand any chance of advancing to the knockout stages and keep alive their hopes of a fifth AFCON title.
Gabon enjoyed the lion’s share of the possession in the first half without creating any clear-cut chances, although that was partly down to resolute defending from the opposition.
After a quiet start, Ghana began to get a foothold in the game and Jordan Ayew threatened to unlock the defence with a powerful run down the right flank on the quarter-hour mark.
The Crystal Palace forward got beyond his man and advanced to the byline before firing in a low cross that almost found its target at the back post, but Jean-Noel Amonome was on hand the push the ball away from danger.
However, the four-time champions went ahead from their next attack three minutes later. Andre Ayew received a pass from Thomas Partey and left his mark for dead with a sharp turn before rifling a shot into the bottom-left corner of the net from outside the box.
Patrice Neveu’s troops were struggling to break them down and managed just one attempt on target in the opening half, which came on 43 minutes when Denis Bouanga tried to catch out Joe Wollacott at his near post with a long-range free-kick that was easily dealt with by the Swindon goalkeeper.
Gabon attacked with more purpose in the second half and Wollacott made a brave save at the feet of Allevinah on 59 minutes after the substitute looked to latch onto a long ball into the box.
Baba Rahman was well placed to head away Johann Obiang’s goal-bound shot from inside the area on 62 minutes, while Guelor Kanga drew a comfortable out of Wollacott with a long-range effort on 71 minutes, having failed to hit the target from distance seven minutes earlier.
Ghana looked to hit their opponents on the counter and they won a free-kick from one such attack on 80 minutes. Jordan Ayew went to place his set-piece inside the near post, but just missed finding the top-left corner of the goal with Amonome at full stretch.
Aaron Boupendza failed to test Wollacott on 85 minutes as he made his way into the box on the left before being forced wide and sent his shot the wrong side of the near post.
However, the Black Stars’ goal was finally breached two minutes from time when Kanga played Allevinah into space on the left and the Clermont forward drilled his strike across Wollacott into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Partey almost provided more late drama with a flicked header that went across the face of goal from a corner on the right in stoppage time, with the two nations sharing the spoils in the end.
Gabon (0) 1 (Allevinah 88′)
Ghana (1) 1 (A.Ayew 18′)
Gabon: Amonome, Assoumou, Manga, Oyono, Obiang, Ameka (Moucketou-Moussounda 76′), Kanga, Poko, Ngouali (Ella 67′), Boupendza, Bouanga (Allevinah 53′).
Ghana: Wollacott, Yiadom, Djiku, Amartey, Rahman, Kyereh, Baba (Paintsil 65′), Partey, A.Ayew (Tetteh 90′), J.Ayew (Issahaku 90′), Sulemana (Addo 61′).