Ghana faced a setback with a 2-1 loss against Cape Verde in their first match of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Sunday, January 14, 2024.
The defeat occurred at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, with Jamiro Monteiro and Garry Rodrigues scoring for the Island nation, while Alexander Djiku’s goal provided a consolation for Ghana.
In a strategic move, Mohammed Kudus and Inaki Williams started the game on the bench, reflecting the coach Chris Hughton’s tough lineup decisions. Richard Ofori secured the goalkeeper position, with Denis Odoi, Alexander Djiku, Mohammed Salisu, and Gideon Mensah forming the defensive back four.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) January 14, 2024
Baba Iddrisu and Majeed Ashimeru formed a midfield partnership, while Joseph Paintsil and Jordan Ayew took their positions on the right and left flanks, respectively.
Ransford Yeboah Konigsdoffer earned his first start for Ghana, showcasing his talents after an impressive appearance in the friendly against Namibia. He filled the role at no.10, and Antoine Semenyo led the attack.
FULL-TIME: Ghana 1-2 Cape Verde
— Blinkscoop Official (@Blinkscoop1) January 14, 2024
With the opportunity to claim the top spot in Group B after Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Mozambique, the Black Stars made a strong start to the game. Ashimeru almost set up Semenyo for an early goal with a dynamic run through the middle.
Despite their efforts, Hughton’s team had a penalty appeal dismissed by the referee when Semenyo went down in the Cape Verde penalty box. Moments later, the Blue Sharks also had a penalty claim turned down after Djiku seemingly handled the ball from a swinging cross.
⏱️ 𝗙𝗨𝗟𝗟 𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘 ⏱️
— 🇬🇭 Black Stars (@GhanaBlackstars) January 14, 2024
Cape Verde took control early in the game, holding the majority of possession in the opening quarter-hour. Their dominance paid off when Ofori couldn’t deflect a long-range shot, allowing Jamiro Monteiro to score on the rebound.
The goal spurred the Black Stars into action, and they nearly equalized seven minutes later when Mensah delivered a low cross, but Konigsdoffer couldn’t make the connection.
Ghana seemed to break through when Ashimeru scored a powerful long-range shot after Yeboah’s header hit the post. However, the goal was disallowed for offside after a VAR review revealed Konigsdoffer obstructed the goalkeeper’s view.
The equalizer came 11 minutes into the second half, with Djiku heading home from a Jordan Ayew out-swinger. Although the momentum shifted in Ghana’s favor, Cape Verde created better chances in the final half-hour.
Ofori made two crucial saves to keep the score level, denying Jovane Cabral and stopping Garry Rodrigues’ one-on-one chance. Rodrigues, however, secured the win in injury time, giving Cape Verde a victorious start to the AFCON.
The outcome places the Blue Sharks at the top of Group B, while Ghana sits at the bottom, trailing Egypt and Mozambique, who each earned a point in their 2-2 draw earlier in the day.
Looking ahead, the Black Stars will face Egypt in their next game on Thursday, January 18.