A dramatic game in African Cup Group C got decided by a late header from Andre Ayew in the 83rd minute as the Black Stars recovered from a goal down to beat South Africa 2-1.
An opening day loss to Senegal had put Ghana’s entire campaign in jeopardy; but an extremely late goal from skipper Gyan in the game against Algeria put the team back in contention for a last eight slot. The only requirement being a win against a South African side that have so far proved to be the whipping boys of the group.
Yet it was the Bafana Bafana who took an early lead through Mandla Masango. A ball was not sufficiently cleared and fell to Masongo, who hit a one time dipping volley that left Ghana goalkeeper Razak Brimah stranded.
The lead deflated an otherwise adventurous Stars’ side, giving South Africa a foothold in a game hitherto controlled by Ghana. The Stars continued to attack on occasion though, winning countless corners which inexplicably were wasted without any threat to South Africa.
The second half began with a more adventurous approach from the Black Stars, who were staring elimination straight in the face. Andre Ayew and Gyan were the clear leaders, whipping their teammates into frenzy but meeting a determined Bafana Bafana defence.
The pressure finally paid off in the 70th minute, when defender John Boye scored the equaliser. Andre Ayew hit a low shot with little power; but it fell to the defender who hit his shot on the turn and beat the bewildered South African goalie.
Having found the equaliser but still needing a goal to qualify, Grant responded immediately with two changes. Kwesi Appiah and Agyeman Badu coming on for the ineffectual pair of Afriyie Acquah and Jordan Ayew.
Kwesi Appiah almost scored barely a minute later, but his low shot struck the outside of the South African post to keep the score level and the Stars still needing a goal to make the next round.
And with 7 minutes to end the game it was the son of Ghana legend Abedi Pele; Andre Ayew himself who stepped up to the plate to fire Ghana into the second round. A perfectly weighted cross from Baba Rahman found the head of the Marseille forward, who buried it to turn the game around and lead the Stars straight into the quarter finals.
In the other group game, Algeria beat Senegal by 2-0, ensuring the Teranga Lions’ victory over the Black Stars in the first game was rendered meaningless; as they join the Bafana Bafana for an early flight home.