Black Meteors survive late Congolese scare in Morocco

Estimated read time 3 min read

Ghana’s Black Meteors survived a late scare from their Congolese counterparts in the ongoing 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco. Coach Ibrahim Tanko’s boys were cruising to a comfortable victory until the debutants emerged from their shadows and put the Ghanaians on urge before the final whistle.

Asante Kotoko’s shot-stopper Danlad Ibrahim was more than active in the first half as Ghana faced a series of efforts from the Congolese. On the other end, the Congolese keeper, Dhody Chris Guelor Bissila Foutou had a free afternoon without much work.

After a barren first half at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, substitute Emmanuel Yeboah who replaced Daniel Afriyie Barnieh combined with Ernest Nuamah to get the first goal of the match. The 20-year-old Romania-based attacker was on hand to cut back Fatawu Issahaku’s ball back to Ernest Nuamah across the goal. And the FC Nordsjalland winger slotted in past Bissila Foutou who had been rarely tested until then.

From being second-best in the game to getting the opener, Ghana soon got another at the back of the net from Yeboah again involved but this time as the scorer. The young winger took the ball from outside the box following a cross-field ball from Terry Yegbe. He knocked the ball down with his head after it bounced off the ground from Yegbe’s cross before hitting it past Foutou to make it 2-0 for Ghana.

Yeboah soon got his double, a treble of involvements and Ghana’s third after Edmund Arko-Mensah of FC Honka was bundled down in the box. Arko-Mensah had his first kick saved before VAR intervened to give Ghana a second chance but then again Mensah failed but Nathaniel Adjei bundled in only for it to be ruled out to be retaken following a handball. Yeboah then stepped up and coolly sent it in leaving Foutou standing on his feet to make it 3-0 for Ghana.

Ernest Yeboah scored two goals and assisted another as the Black Meteors beat Congo 3-2 in the U-23 AFCON at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Morocco on June 25, 2023
Ernest Yeboah scored two goals and assisted another as the Black Meteors beat Congo 3-2 in the U-23 AFCON at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium in Morocco on June 25, 2023. Photo: GFA

However, with added time to play, Congo mounted a spirited comeback that kept Ghana nervous. First, it was Reich Triomphe Kokolo who beat the Meteors defenders to put his header past Danlad to start the comeback in the 3rd minute of additional time. Then, 20-year-old Yann Geoffrey Kouori Ngatse added the second just a minute later holding off pressure from two Ghana defenders to pull in a shot that left Danlad stranded to make it 3-2.

As the game ended, Ghana heaved a sigh of relief as they lead Group A with the same points as host Morocco. But it was a match made for substitutes with four of the goals from from them and all five involving substitutes. Coach Tanko and his charges will next face off with Morocco on Tuesday in a top-of-the-table clash with the winner guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. Congo on the other hand will hope to reignite their campaign with a win over Guinea who lost 2-1 to Morocco in the opening match.

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