Namibia Soccer
News Report

Goalless draws mar Afcon

Author: NAMPA/AFP, 29/06/19

Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan (right) controls the ball during their Afcon Group F

A procession of goalless draws have taken the shine of what has so far been a thrilling Afcon 2019.

Defending champions Cameroon and four-time winners Ghana drew 0-0 at the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) on Saturday, leaving both on perilous ground.

The result means that Cameroon still lead Group F, with Ghana in second place, but either could miss out on qualifying for the last 16 if they slip up in the final round of games.

Cameroon play Benin and Ghana face Guinea-Bissau.

Christian Bassogog had two of the best opportunities to give Cameroon a victory in Ismailia that would have sent them through to the knockout rounds with a game to spare.
His shot just before halftime was saved by Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori, who leaped high to his right to keep the ball out.

Bassogog's goal-bound effort in the 76th minute was blocked by the chest of defender Jonathan Mensah. Mensah felt the full-force of the shot and slipped to his knees. He took a moment to recover from the blow.

Ghana substitute Owusu Kwabena hit the crossbar with three minutes to go, after pouncing on a Cameroon error. He bore down on goal and fired a shot past Ofori that ricocheted off the frame.

Ghana was hampered, though, by the early loss of influential winger Christian Atsu to injury. Atsu left the field within the first 15 minutes with a right-leg injury he suffered taking a shot at goal.

Ghana has a squad dripping with talent, but hasn't given any indication that this could be the year when the West Africans end a 37-year wait for a title. Ghana were unimpressive in a 2-2 draw with Benin in their opening match.

Neither Benin nor Guinea-Bissau took advantage of the Cameroon-Ghana stalemate in the last match of the day, as neither could clinch their first victory at Afcon 2019. Benin are still winless after 11 games at the tournament since making their debut in 2004. They did have the best of Saturday's games, with striker Steve Mounie missing the clearest chance when he headed over the bar from a free-kick, with the goal at his mercy, deep in the second half.

Mounie slammed both hands against the crossbar in frustration, encapsulating a day that wasn't a glowing advert for Africa's top tournament.

Even the presence of a player called Pele wearing the number 10 jersey didn't help. Guinea-Bissau's 27-year-old Portugal-born forward shares the name and shirt number of arguably the greatest soccer player ever.

Group F is also wide open after there were no goals between Angola and Mauritania. That game was the first 0-0 of the tournament and apparently inspired a succession of such results.

Angola's Geraldo had a late goal ruled out for offside and tournament debutant Mauritania recovered from a 1-4 hammering by Mali in the opening round to hold the Angolans.

Mali lead the group by two points from Tunisia, but Angola and Mauritania are not out of contention for the knockout stage. Mauritania is a country of four million people in northwest Africa that sits almost entirely in the Sahara desert. They were one of the big surprises when they qualified for the tournament.

The top two teams from each of the six groups will make up the last 16, along with the four best third-placed teams.

Hosts Egypt, Nigeria, Algeria and Morocco have already qualified for the round of 16.

Namibian Sun

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