The Black Stars of Ghana had to settle for a 2-2 draw with the Squirrels of Benin in their opening match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) despite being forced to play with 10 men in the second half when defender John Boy was sent off.
Ghana, pitted in Group F of the expanded AFCON tournament this year could not start off their campaign in the manner in which they wanted. An eventful encounter at the Ismailia Stadium ended two all with both sides settling for a point.
Benin forward Mickael Pote gave his side an early lead on the 2nd minute after capitalizing on a defensive misunderstanding. The player showed great composure and planted his shot into the back of the net to send the whole Ghana into shock.
The Black Stars did not back down and pushed for an equalizer that will bring them level. Coach Kwesi Appiah’s men finally got the breakthrough on the 10th minute courtesy a fine strike from Captain Andre Dede Ayew.
Ghanaian winger Thomas Agyepong sustained an injury with about 10 minutes to end the first half and had to be substituted. After knocking on the door of the Benin defense for some time, striker Jordan Ayew gave the Stars a deserved lead with an assist from center-back Kasim Nuhu Adams before the break.
Having resumed play for the second 45 minutes, the Squirrels made good use of a man advantage after John Boye was shown a second yellow card and sent off. They quickly mounted some pressure of their own and restored parity through Mickael Pote who complete his brace on the day.
Change in tactics and personnel on the part of both coaches could not tweak the game in their favor and they had to settle for a draw. The two teams now have to do all they can to win their next matches in Group F to stand any chance of progressing into the knockout phase.
Ghana will come up against defending Champions Cameroon on Saturday, June 29, 2019.