AFCON: Ghana In, S’Africa Out

Ghana have qualified for the quarterfinals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea after beating South Africa 2-1 in the last round of matches of Group C on Tuesday.

Two goals from substitute John Boye and Andre Ayew after a Mandla Masanga opener sealed the group for the Avram Grant-led side above the Desert Foxes of Algeria, who also defeated Senegal 2-0.

The Black Stars topped the group with six points same as runners-up, Algeria, but went on top courtesy of their 1-0 win over the North Africans in their second group match.

The two will join hosts Equatorial Guinea, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tunisia in the quarterfinals, which will begin on Saturday.

South Africa needed a two-goal win over the West Africans to qualify with the hope that Algeria could defeat Senegal but they lost a one goal lead to a superior second half performance from the Ghanaians.

This is the fourth time in five editions of the competition that the Bafana Bafana would fail to progress beyond the group stage of the AFCON while the Black Stars claimed their fourth straight quarterfinals on Tuesday night.

The Ghanaians began the brighter of the two sides blazing off from the start as they intended to qualify for the quarterfinals knowing that a draw would not do them any good.

Ayew went close to scoring in the fourth minute but his effort was off the mark. Two minutes later, his brother, Jordan, also threatened but the South Africans grew into the game.

The game became an end-to-end affair till Masanga broke the deadlock in the 17th minute after a good team work saw him put a right-footed shot beyond Razak Brimah in goal for Ghana.

The Bafana Bafana fell deep in the second half trying to protect their lead but were undone in the 72nd minute after waves of attack from the Black Stars.

Boye, who replaced injured Daniel Amartey, left footed a shot through the legs of Brilliant Khuzwayo in the Bafana goal. Ghana sealed the win in the 82nd minute when Ayew headed past Khuzwayo from a Baba Rahman’s left wing cross.

The Black Stars will meet the runners-up of Group D, which will be decided on Wednesday (today), while Algeria will tackle the winners of the same group.

The South Africa coach Shakes Mashaba apologised to their fans soon after the match.

“I know people will not be glad at home but I say they should please bear with us, it will be better the next time,” he said on SuperSport.

South Africa played a 2-2 draw with Nigeria in Uyo in November during the qualifying series. The draw ensured that Nigeria did not qualify to defend their title in Equatorial Guinea.

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