Ghana’s Black Stars and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroun played out a 0-0 stalemate in their second Group F game of the 2019 Total African Cup of Nations.
In a rematch of their 2017 AFCON semi final, both teams wanted a win for different reasons. A win for Cameroon would have secured them a place in the last 16 stage of the competition while Ghana needed a win to uplift the spirits and boost their credentials as tournaments favourites after playing out a disappointing draw in their group opener against Benin last Tuesday.
With John Boye suspended and Thomas Agyepong injured, Ghana Coach Kwesi Appiah made three changes to his starting line up that played against Benin. Jonathan Mensah and Kwadwo Asamoah came in whiles Chelsea left back Abdul Baba Rahman replaced Lumor. Cameroun Captain Eric Choupo-Moting also had to settle for a place on the bench.
It was Ghana who started brightly in the first half as they dominated proceedings in the first quarter albeit with little openings. Defender Nuhu Adams was a fraction late in connecting with Mubarak Wakaso’s corner as Ghana wanted to make their early dominance count but for the second time in a row Ghana had to make an early substitution in a game after Christian Atsu pulled off a hamstring when he took a shot which curled wide off the Cameroonian post and he was replaced by Samuel Owusu. Ghana kept going and Jordan Ayew couldn’t connect well after Baba whipped in a very delightful cross into the box while Samuel Owusu dragged a shot wide.
Cameroon withered the early Ghanaian storm and began to gradually play their way into the game with Njie blasting a freekick high into the stands. The Lions kept probing and it had to take a last ditch challenge from Jonathan Mensah to prevent Toku from poking home after being played through by Bassagog and Ofori saved a shot from Njie. The biggest chance of the half fell to Bassagog whose shot was brilliantly palmed away by the impressive Ofori. The half ended with Cameroon fairly on top.
Like the first half, the second half also started with the Black Stars on top and Mubarak twice tried his luck from distance all to no avail. Both teams were now being cautious and the game ebbed on with no clear cut scoring opportunities.
Kwadwo Asamoah’s cut back after a steady build up from Ghana left everybody behind and the Cameroonians had time to introduce their Captain Choupo-Moting who came on to win his 50th cap and he went straight into action setting up Bassagog whose shot was blocked by Jonathan Mensah and with Ghana breaking away at the other end, Samuel Owusu lost control and ran straight into the Cameroonian defence to let the chance go begging.
Kwesi Appiah also responded by throwing on Ghana’s all time leading scorer Asamoah Gyan in place of Kwadwo Asamoah. Ghana had the opportunity to open the scoring after Samuel Owusu was brought down at the edge of the penalty box but Wakaso’s freekick was straight into the wall.
There was a grandstand finish to the game as Ghana pushed for a winner. Substitute Kwabena Owusu should have won the game for Ghana as his shot after intercepting a pass and running into the box went crushing agonizingly against the woodwork though he could have passed to an onside Jordan Ayew who was unmarked in the box for tap in. Moments later, Andy Yiadom should have done better but could only shoot tamely and straight at Onana when he latched unto Jordan’s pass. Partey sent a shot high after receiving a pass from the enterprising Kwabena Owusu. Partey’s low corner would be the last kick of the game as the referee blew his whistle for the end of the games.
Cameroon now lead group F with four points and Ghana follow with two points. Both teams now have all to play for in their last group games as Ghana takes on Guinea Bissau and Cameroun plays Benin.
By: Qwesi Nabila Zakariah (@qwesi_nabila)