Ghana’s 2019 African Cup of Nations was off to a disappointing start after registering a thrilling 2-2 draw against Benin with the Ayew brothers scoring in the first half while Mickael Pote secured a brace in a match staged at the Ismaïlia Stadium on Tuesday 25th June.
Benin were seeking to progress to the knockout phases of the competition for the first time in their history having graced the tournament in 2004, 2008 and 2010. Ghana, on the other hand, were out to break their 36-year wait for the continental trophy.
Benin had a blistering start to the game and needed just two minutes to open the scoring as Mickael Pote broke free from the Ghana defense to have a clear sight on goal but delayed his shot as he brilliantly got past Lumor Agbenyenu to bury the ball home past the onrushing Richard Ofori.
Kwesi Appiah’s charges, however, did not have to wait long for an equalizer as Andre Ayew twisted and turned inside the box before finding space and firing a ferocious low shot that rippled the back of the net after his brother Jordan Ayew had set him up following an exquisite through ball by Thomas Partey from the halfway line.
The frenetic start to the game subsided but Ghana completed the turn around momentarily three minutes from the half-time break when Kasim Adams-Nuhu’s pass was completely misjudged by Olivier Verdon in defense that handed Jordan Ayew a one on one with Fabien Farnolle who he beat to hand the Black Stars the lead for the first time in the game.
After being handed a caution in the first half, John Boye was sent for an early shower in the 54th minute for delaying the game when he chose not to take a free-kick instead leaving it for the keeper, a decision with clearly left the Ghana technical bench fuming more so veteran forward Asamoah Gyan.
Benin made their man advantage count in the 63rd minute when a short corner was played to Jodel Dossou who did not take long to introduce himself after spending less than a minute on the pitch, fired in a low cross that was flicked on by Pote for his second of the game.
Ghana and Benin settled for the draw with the Black Stars next facing a tough task against holders Cameroon while Benin face Guinea Bissau, both matches will be played on Saturday 29th June.