The Lions of Teranga take a big step towards qualifying for the knockout stages as they battle back from an early deficit to claim a 2-1 win with the last kick of the game. Senegal were the better team throughout and the three points is nothing more than they deserve! A superb way to kick-off Group C at the Estadio de Mongomo, and Ghana have their work cut out for them now.
90′ + 3′
Assist Mame Biram Diouf
90′ + 3′
Goal Moussa Sow
90′ + 3′
Sensational build up from Senegal, as a long ball forward is won by Kouyate. Saivet picks out Diouf, who sends Sow through on goal and the substitute makes no mistake, beating Brimah with the last kick of the game!
90′ + 3′
HE’S DONE IT! IN THE MOST DRAMATIC WAY, SENEGAL HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES A WINNING GOAL!
90′ + 1′
Into the first of three minutes of added time, as Ghana muster a rare attack to win themselves a corner. The delivery is poor, running out for a throw and Senegal can get back in possession.
GREAT SKILL! Kouyate gets himself forward, doing everything he can to provide Senegal with a winner. The big man shows impressive pace to get on the end of a pass and make quick work of Baba, but his ball across the box is cleared by Awal.
SubstitutionAndr? AyewDavid Accam
Just a couple minutes left now as Senegal continue to camp out in the Ghana end. The Black Stars make their final change, bringing off goalscorer and captain Andre Ayew for pacey forward David Accam.
Ghana are clinging on for dear life, as Senegal have made their intent to find a winner very clear. The Black Stars look completely frantic in midfield, putting endless pressure on their defence as they continue to give the ball away.
SubstitutionMohammed RabiuAfriyie Acquah
STAT ATTACK: Ghana have lost just one group stage match at the last four Africa Cup of Nations, back in 2010 against Ivory Coast. They have eight wins and two draws over that span.
HOW HAS HE MISSED THAT?! A horrendous giveaway by Ghana who are caught in possession inside their own half. Diop charges forward with options to either side, but takes the chance himself. He rolls a shot past the keeper, but misses the target by just fractions! That really should have been the second goal for Senegal.
Yellow Card Mohammed Rabiu
SubstitutionDame NdoyeMoussa Sow
Another free kick for Senegal now, this one from 35 yards out, but they will wait to take it as they look to make their second substitution. It looks like Dame N’Doye who will come off as a result of an injury, with Moussa Sow on to replace him.
NO CALL FROM THE REFEREE! Absolute chaos in a crowded Ghanaian penalty area, as the Black Stars fail to clear their lines. Senegal win a number of headers inside the box, and a goalbound effort strikes the arm of a defender after Brimah failed to collect after charging off his line. Strong case from Senegal for a penalty, and it looks like the referee maybe got this one wrong.
Penalty appeals turned aside! N’Doye runs to meet a pass from Gassama in the area, and gets taken out by Awal. The referee gives it a hard look, but opts not to award Senegal the penalty. It is a big call from the referee, but appears to be the right one on first glance.
Ghana win a free kick in a very threatening position, 25 yards out in the centre of the pitch. The end result is dissappointing, however, as Jordan Ayew thumps a shot well over the bar.
FIRED WIDE! Another strike from distance, again from Dame N’Doye, causes Ghanaian hearts to stir! The striker charges forward, and opts to try and pick out the far corner from 25 yards out, but his effort trickles just wide of the post.
Ghana make their first change of the match in an attempt to solidify things in midfield. They are in danger of falling behind here, with Senegal well on top. Christian Atsu is the man to come off, being replaced by Wakasu Murabak.
WHAT IS HE DOING?! Superb chance for Diouf to give Senegal the lead, as he takes a pass in the area, and only needed to guide the ball into the back of the net. The striker instead tries to rifle the ball into the back netting, and the power behind the shot winds up taking it wide!
The opportunity is wasted as Diop’s shot attempt deflects off the wall and behind for a corner.
Yellow Card Andr? Ayew
Risky challenge from Andre Ayew and the captain picks up Ghana’s first booking of the match, following a dazzling run from Gueye through the centre. This will present Senegal with a real shooting opportunity in the centre from 25 yards out.
Senegal have taken a much better shape in the second half, creating much more of a threat from open play. The switch to a 4-4-2 has given them a far greater presence from the flanks, which Ghana have yet to find an answer for.
Ghana have completely switched off here and look in danger of conceding a second! Andre Ayew yells at his brother, who was off the pitch when the Black Stars conceded, which we can only assume was to receive treatment.
Goal Mame Biram Diouf
It is nothing less than Senegal deserve, and it comes from open play – not a set piece! Souare sends a superb cross into the area, and Diouf meets it, but his header strikes the woodwork. The striker stays with it, and sends the follow up into an empty net with Brimah yet to recover from the original attempt!
SENEGAL FINALLY PULL LEVEL THROUGH STOKE CITY’S MAME DIOUF!
There is a delay now with Jordan Ayew down injured after a clash of heads with the towering Sengal defender Kara Mbodj. He does not require treatment, despite the referee bringing a halt to the match, which upsets the Senegal players.
SIDE NETTING! Superb hit from N’Doye, the first for Senegal from outside the area. The striker takes a pass and hits a shot early, but the cheers from the crowd are misplaced, as the ball strikes the wrong side of the netting.
STAT ATTACK: Senegal last recorded a victory at the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006. They are winless in eight matches since (D2, L6), while failing to record a single clean sheet over that span.
Another free kick for Senegal in an advanced position on the right. Diop is able to pick out a teammate with his delivery, but Kara cannot direct the header on target. The pressure stays on, and Senegal win a corner.
Confident start from Ghana, who have enjoyed a good spell of possession. They are pressuring Senegal much better in midfield, making it difficult on the Lions of Teranga from advancing into the final third.
SubstitutionP. DjilobodjiLamine Gassama
Senegal get the second half underway, with one change to speak about. Centre-back Papy Djilobodji gives way to a full-back, Lamine Gassama, as Senegal switch from a 3-5-2 to a 4-4-2.
Avram Grant will be content with having the lead at half, though will likely be preaching discipline to his side at the break. Ghana can ill-afford to keep conceding free kicks to Senegal, who look likely to convert one of these chances sooner than later.
HALF TIME: GHANA 1-0 SENEGAL. A needless penalty conceded by Bouna Coundoul gifted the Black Stars a lead, which they have managed to see through into the break. Senegal have controlled the game in large part throughout the first half, but have nothing to show for it. Kara struck the bar with a header, while Diouf’s overhead kick was turned aside by Brimah. Ghana are posing their greatest threat on the counter, but everything is still to play for in the second half.
45′ + 1′
The first half comes to an end with Senegal in possession, in attack, as has been the case for much of the opening 45 minutes.
There will be 1 minute of added time at the end of this first half, as indicated by the referee’s assistant.
Time is winding down on what has been an incredibly enjoyable first half. There is just the one goal to separate the two sides, but it could very well have been four or five combined between the two teams. Ghana are putting everyone behind the ball to try and keep Senegal out and see this lead into the break.
FINE SAVE! Much better from Ghana, however, who have shown flashes of what they can create in attack – it just has not happened often enough. Andre Ayew keeps the ball in play at the byline and sends a clever chip across the face of goal. Atsu meets it with an acrobatic volley, but Coundoul is up to the task, diving across to keep it out.
SO CLOSE! Another free kick conceded by Afful on Gueye presents Senegal with a free kick in a dangerous area. Diop does well to pick out Sane with his delivery, but the defender’s header takes a slight deflection which takes it just wide of the near post.
STAT ATTACK: Senegal have never beaten Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations in three tries, losing 1-0 in 2006 and 1994, while drawing 2-2 way back in 1968.
Senegal needlessly give away a corner as a poor back pass puts Coundoul under pressure, only to see his clearance attempt scuffed behind. The ensuing delivery is superb, but Kouyate does just enough to pressure Amartey into sending his header wide with an open net in front of him!
ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT! Following the set piece, the pressure is kept on by Senegal. A ball is played into the area by Gueye and well-cushioned header back across goal tees up Diouf, who makes superb contact with an overhead kick, but Brimah gets his hands up to keep it out! It is an extraordinary effort from the Stoke City striker, who is unlucky not to have pulled Senegal level.
Gueye is the latest player to win Senegal a free kick, as Afful is forced into a challenge. Just from a quick glance at the bodies in the penalty area, the height disparity is shocking! The green shirts are towering over the white of Ghana.
The pace has picked up significantly here, which has made for some wonderful viewing. Neither side has been able to string many passes together, but the attacking intent is there. Senegal look at their most dangerous from set pieces, and their midfield has obliged, winning free kick after free kick.
OFF THE BAR! Senegal come ever so close to the equalizer, again from a set piece! The ball is played into the area and is met by Kara Mbodj. It is a superb header from the Racing Genk defender, who has the keeper beaten, but is turned aside by the crossbar!
Yellow Card Dame Ndoye
Incredibly lucky! Dame N’Doye slides in well late on Atsu, in a two-footed challenge that is straight out of the 1950’s. The striker lays on the ground, embarrassed about what he felt could very well have been a sending off. He winds up escaping with a yellow, but will be on a short leash the rest of the way.
NEARLY A SECOND! This is where Ghana are so dangerous, on the counter! The Black Stars have plenty of pace in their team and it was on full display there as Jordan Ayew charges forward on a counter attack. He does well to draw a defender to him and play Atsu through on goal. The Everton man tries to hit it first time, but his attempt to curl a shot past Coundoul winds missing by inches at the far post!
STAT ATTACK: Ghana have made the semi-finals in each of the last four Africa Cup of Nations. They have only once reached the final over that span, in 2010, where they lost to Egypt.
It is all Senegal at the moment! The Lions of Teranga are dominating the midfield battle. They look content on winning free kicks, to try and punish Ghana with their height. The foul count continues to rise for the Black Stars, who are struggling to defend these set pieces at the moment.
CLOSE! Senegal continue to apply pressure in search of an equalizer, and they are proving to be so dangerous from set pieces. Diop wins his side a free kick in midfield and lofts a ball into the area. It is headed back into the danger area by Djilobodji, but Kouyate fails to make good contact with the follow up as Brimah can collect.
JUST OVER! Senegal are looking for a quick response after falling behind against the run of play. They get forward and win a corner, where they are very dangerous as a result of the height in their side. Djilobodji meets the cross from Diop, but his header is sent just over.
Penalty Goal Andr? Ayew
Yellow Card Bouna Coundoul
GOAAAAAL! It is the captain for the day, Andre Ayew, who steps up to the spot. The Marseille man makes no mistake, driving a well-placed shot down the middle and just under the bar!
PENALTY TO GHANA! Horrendous miscue by the Senegal keeper, who is slow to charge off his line after a heavy touch from Atsu, and winds up taking the striker’s legs out. No hesitation from the referee who points straight to the spot.
Ghana penetrate the Senegal defence for the first time, but it is short-lived. An errant throw is cleared by Sane, who starts his side out on a break. N’Doye tries to send a ball through for Diouf, but Mensah is there to provide cover and sniff out the chance.
STAT ATTACK: Senegal lost just once in the qualification phase, registering four victories and a draw in their other five matches. Sadio Mane and Mame Diouf were the joint-leading scorers, with two goals each.
FIRST CHANCE! Diop does well to dispossess Rabiu in midfield and dart into the area. He picks out a pass for N’Doye on the right, but the striker’s lashed shot at goal is collected easily by Brimah. Diouf throws his arms up in disgust, as he was waiting unmarked at the top of the six-yard box for a pass.
Senegal are enjoying the better of the play thus far, keeping possession well in the attacking half. They have provided very few balls up to the front two, however, and need a bit more inventiveness about them.
The two sides are feeling each other out early on, as the start has been very cagey. The pitch looks superb, however, which is the good news, and the stadium is packed – a pleasant site to see considering the late change of venue.
Ghana kick-off and we are underway in Equatorial Guinea! The Black Stars, moving left to right, are in their all white strip, with Senegal sporting full green kits.
IT ONLY NEEDED A TOUCH! Senegal are creating chance after chance and will be kicking themselves if they cannot find a winner. A lovely ball over the top from Kouyate finds Sow in the area, but the substitute gets it all wrong as he fails to get a touch, allowing Brimah to collect. That should have been the winner!
We are just moments away from the start of the match now as the anthems echo through the loudspeakers at the Estadio de Mongomo!
Sadio Mane is not available for selection, with the initial injury prognosis from Southampton indicating the striker’s calf injury sustained on New Year’s Day would rule him out for several weeks. Meanwhile, Diafra Sakho is not with the team after West Ham ruled him out of the tournament with a back injury ? a decision which came under much scrutiny from the national team. This leaves a still more than capable strike force up top, as Stoke City’s Mame Diouf partners with Lokomotiv Moscow’s Dame N’Doye.
The Black Stars are without their captain Asamoah Gyan, as the striker has yet to recover in time from malaria. Andre Ayew will wear the armband in his place, captaining a front three which includes his brother Jordan, and Everton winger Christian Atsu. Behind them is another trio in midfield, headlined by Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, while 20-year-old Daniel Amartey earns his first senior cap.
SENEGAL SUBS: N’Diaye, Sow, Mane, M’Bengue, Toure, Cisse, Gomis, Konate, S. Sane, Gassama, Saivet, Camara.
SENEGAL (4-4-2): Coundoul; Souare, Mbodji, L. Sane, Djilobodji; Badji, Kouyate, Diop, Gueye; N’Doye, Diouf.
GHANA SUBS: Appiah, Gyimah, Acquah, Mubarak, Sowah, Asante, Otoo, Dauda, Accam, Acheampong.
GHANA (4-3-3): Brimah; Afful, Mensah, Baba, Awal; Amartey, Rabiu, Agyemang-Badu; A. Ayew, J. Ayew, Atsu.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Senegal have not advanced past the group stage at the Africa Cup of nations since 2004. While the goal for them is clear, the task is far from simple as they get set to do battle in a daunting Group C. The pressure is already mounting on coach Alain Giresse, who has come under a bit of scrutiny for his squad selection, with the omitted Demba Ba referring to the tactician as a puppet. All will be forgotten if he can take the Lions of Teranga into the knockout stages, and they can really boost their chances with a victory over Ghana here today.
Ghana have brought a relatively young side with them to Equatorial Guinea, though the majority of them are no strangers to the international scene. The Black Stars are returning 10 players who were with them at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, where they were ousted in the semi-finals at the hands of Burkina Faso. Coach Avram Grant will be looking to improve on the fourth place finish, and earn the nation their first title since 1982.