Ghana’s hopes of progressing to the round of 16 of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) faced a major doubt after squandering a two-goal lead in the final six minutes of their match against Mozambique.
Despite Jordan Ayew’s two penalties, Ghana failed to hold on for victory, conceding twice in quick succession to draw 2-2 and exit the tournament at the group stage for the second consecutive time.
In a dramatic turn of events, Andre Ayew gave away a penalty, which was duly converted by Mozambique, before goalkeeper Richard Ofori made a costly error by giving away a corner kick that led to the equalising goal from a corner kick.
Ghana needed to maintain their lead and occupy the second place safely with four points to spare themselves any third-place drama following Egypt’s 2-2 draw against Cape Verde in the other game of Group B. However, an attempt by coach Chris Hughton to preserve the lead did not go as planned as the lethargic players gave away two early goals.
The result means Ghana will only have a slim chance of going through depending on results from other matches.
They will have to hope Zambia, Algeria and Cameroon lose their final matches to make them better in the third-place rankings. However, if those permutations don’t work out, Ghana will write an unwanted record of exiting from two consecutive AFCON tournaments having lost in their final group game against Comoros in the 2021 edition.
This will also mean Ghana have failed to proceed from the group stage of three consecutive tournaments including the 2022 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Egypt sailed through even without winning a single match as they recorded a 2-2 scoreline in all of their games to fetch three points.