The Black Stars of Ghana lost 1-0 to Morocco in their Africa Cup of Nations opener at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Monday.
Ghana Coach Milovan Rajevac named a squad of experienced and debutants with Daniel Amartey, Alexander, Andrew Yiadom, and Baba Abdul Rahman in the backline. Thomas Partey and Baba Idrissu played in midfield with Joseph Painstil, Kamal Deen Sulemana, Captain Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew in an offensive position.
Sofiane Boufal scored the only goal of the match – seven minutes from time as he latched on to a loose ball on the edge before drilling home.
Both teams played a tactical game with the Moroccan’s attacking through the flanks – but the Black Stars were resolute as they cut all the attacking threats from the Moroccans.
Chances in the far and few in the first half as the referee blew his whistle to end the first part of the exchanges.
Back from recess, the Moroccan’s pressed for the opener with some surging runs down the flanks but Ghana managed the situation well. Sofiane Boufal scored the game’s only goal in the 83rd minute as Morocco claim another win over the Black Stars.
Ghana’s Joseph Paintsil came close to finding the back of the net in the 73rd minute but his fine effort from the edge of the box was saved by goalkeeper Yassine Bounou.
Romain Saiss also had a great chance for Morocco but his effort went wide.
Ghana skipper Andre Ayew also had a great chance to shoot the Black Stars into the lead but his looping volley was well-read as the ball resulted in a corner kick.
Sofiane Boufal who worked tirelessly all night for the Atlas Lions capitalized on a loose ball on the edge of the box before smashing home the only goal of the match in the 83rd minute.
Morocco nearly doubled their advantage in the 88th minute but Rayan Mmaee headed wide.
Richmond Boakye Yiadom, Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, Benjamin Tetteh, and Daniel Kofi Kyereh came on for Jordan Ayew, Kamal Deen Sulemana, Joseph Painstil and Thomas Partey but the quartet couldn’t save the situation as Morocco held on to win 1-0 in Yaoundé.
Ghana’s next game is against Gabon on Friday, January 14 – and the Black Stars must win to stand a chance of making it to the next round of the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021 tournament.