African giants Ghana were beaten 3-2 by debutants Comoros in their final Group C game played at the Roumdé Adjia Stadium in Garoua on Tuesday, condemning them to their first group stage elimination since 2006.
The victory will forever reign in the minds of Comorians given that it was their first at the continent’s greatest football showpiece.
The Black Stars who have not won the Nations Cup since 1982 were so desperate to win the tie to brighten their chances of staying in the competition but it’s Comoros who struck first through Ben Mohamed as early as the third minute.
It turned from bad to worse for the Black Stars when their captain Andre Ayew was shown a red card in the 24th minute for a foul on Comoros goalkeeper Salim Boina.
At the hour mark, Ahmed Mogni doubled Comoros’ advantage but 10-man side Ghana kept on believing and pulled a goal back through Richmond Boakye in the 63rd minute.
Moments later, the four time champions levelled matters in the 76th minutes courtesy of Alexander Djiku but when they thought they could turn it around, Mogni broke their hearts in the 84th minute for Comoros’s third goal.
The above result means the West Africans bow out having finished bottom of Group C on a single point whereas, on the other hand, Comoros will have to wait and see if on three points they can finish amongst the four best third placed teams.
Meanwhile, it was a real battle for the top spot in the other Group C game played at Roumde Adjia Stadium between Gabon and Morocco.
Coming into the game, it was the Atlas Lions who were top of the group on six points while the Pathers were second on four points.
But Gabon put up a real fight to try and finish top and they nearly did, they scored first through Jim Allevinah in the 20th and led the game until the 73rd minute when Sofiane Boufal equalized from a penalty.
The Panthers reclaimed their lead soon after in the 80th minute thanks to Naif Aguerd’s own goal before PSG’s Achraf Hakimi salvaged a point for the Atlas Lions when he scored in the 84th minute.
Having finished top of Group C on seven points, Morocco will be waiting for one of the third placed teams in either Group A, B or F for the knockout tie to be played at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo on Tuesday, January 25.
Gabon who finished on five points in second have their knockout contest set against Burkina Faso the Group A runners up on Sunday, January 23.
How the four teams lined up
Ghana: Joseph Wollacot (GK), Andrew Kyere-Yiadom, Thomas Partey, Abdul Issahaku, Daniel-Kofi Kyereh, Jordan Ayew, Andre Ayew ©, Abdul Baba, Daniel Amartey, Kamal Sulemana, Alexander Djiku
Comoros: Salim Boina (GK), Younn Zahary, Fouad Bachirou, M’Changama, Kassim M’Dahoma, Salmata Youssouf, Ibroihim Youssouf, Ahmed Mogni, Ben Mohamed, Saidi Bakari
Gabon: Jean Amonome (GK), Alex Moussounda, Anthony Torque, Bruno Manga ©, Aaron Boupendza, Johann Obiang, Lloyd Palun, Jim Allevinah, Guelor Kanga Kanu, Andre Biyogo Poko, Jr Assoumou Akue
Morocco: Monir El Kajoui (GK), Achraf Hakimi, Adam Masina, Sofyan Ambrabat, Nayef Azz-Eddine Ounahi, Ayoub El Kaabi, Faycal Fajr ©, Ilias Chair, Soufiane Chakla, Youssef En-Nesyri