Andre Ayew scored from the spot as Ghana produced a nervy and uninspired 1-0 win over Uganda in their opening 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group D opener in Port-Gentil on Tuesday. The Ghanaians managed to stay afloat after a spirited second half display from the Cranes.
Ghana coach Avram Grant heaved a sigh of relief with several questions marks about the ability of team to go all the way. Andre Ayew opened the scoring from the spot kick in the 30th minutes after Asamoah Gyan was tackled by Isaac Insinde in the box.
The West Ham United player made no mistakes as he converted to give the Ghanaians the lead in Port-Gentil. It was Andre’s 7th goal at the Africa Cup of Nations to equal Asamoah Gyan and Osei Kofi as Ghana’s all-time leading scorer at the continental showpiece.
The Black Stars could have scored more with Christian Atsu, Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan coming close in the first half. But it was the Cranes who asked several questions in the early exchanges with Ghana right-back Harrison Afful struggling to contain the pace and trickery of Joseph Ochaya.
The East Africans looked more positive on the left flank with Tony Mawejje making things uncomfortable for the Black Stars. Ghana began to find their rhythm by building up slowly from the back with John Boye and Daniel Amartey as the Cranes created a huge wall at the heart of the park.
Partey’s tendency to go up front created a void in the midfield which allowed the Cranes easy access to the ball. Gyan came close in the 15th minute as he headed inches wide off the target from a sweet cross from Harrison Afful with Amartey not covering quickly. Atsu moved away from his marker into the box but his cross was intercepted for a corner – a great opportunity to open the scoring on the 17th minute mark. Again the Newcastle United wideman created space to fire from close range but skied his effort. Perhaps the biggest chance fell to Andre Ayew who miscued his shot before he made amends from the spot kick. Coach Avram Grant was forced to replace Abdul Baba Rahman as the Schalke defender’s ankle kicked as he attempted to stretch for the ball, falling to the ground in one move-turned and signaled to the bench to be substituted. Versatile Anderlecht man Frank Acheampong slotted him nicely and provided cover from the left-back for goalkeeper Razak Brimah. Uganda had the perfect chance to pull parity but Isaac Insinde touch from a great cross was too feeble to worry Ghana. – See more at: http://sport.citifmonline.com/2017/01/17/ghana-1-0-uganda-ayew-penalty-gives-stars-opening-afcon-win/#sthash.tyAX5Hrf.dpuf