AFCON 2021: Group C review

Group C of the Africa Cup of Nations has been concluded, here is a round-up of all the action.

AFCON 2021: Group C review

The final round of Group C games concluded in exciting fashion as Ghana suffered a shock 3-2 loss to Comoros while Gabon vs Morocco ended 2-2.

The group has now taken its final form with Morocco and Gabon through to the Round of 16 as first and second respectively.

Comoros sits third and unsure of their fate while Ghana are definitely out after finishing bottom of the group with just one point. Here is Pulse Sports’ review of the group.

After picking up just one point in their opening two games, Ghana needed a win in the last game against Comoros to have any chance of qualification to the Round of 16.

Ghana are four-time AFCON winners and currently ranked eighth in the CAF rankings, 30 places ahead of their opponents Comoros who are making their AFCON debut in Cameroon.

With the information above, Ghana should be guaranteed three points but football's ability to be unpredictable, what followed was arguably the game of the tournament, not just the group.

El Fardou Ben finished off a sweeping counter-attacking move to score Comoros’ first ever AFCON goal and give them the lead after just four minutes, signalling their intent to compete and not just roll over.

Things went from bad to worse for Ghana when captain Andre Ayew got sent off in the 25th minute for a tackle on the Comoros goalkeeper. To be fair to Ghana, they improved after the red card and dominated proceedings but it was Comoros who scored again.

Ahmed Mogni twisted and dazzled the Ghanaian defence before firing a shot into the bottom corner to make it 2-0 and comfirm a first-ever AFCON win for Comoros, right?

This crazy game took another turn just two minutes later when Richmond Boakye pulled one back for Ghana after which Alexander Djiku equalised in the 77th minute.

Suddenly all Ghanaian hope was restored and they needed just one more goal to complete the comeback. There was indeed one more goal but in the wrong net from a Ghanaian perspective as Ahmed Mogni poked in the winning goal against the run of play in the 85th minute to break Ghanaian hearts all over the world.

The result means Comoros finish Group C in third position and still have a slim chance of qualification to the next round depending on how they compare to other third-place teams.

In a group with many notable (some even world-class) Moroccan and Ghanaian players, no one shone brighter than Gabon’s Jim Allevinah.

The 26-year old forward has been the biggest beneficiary of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s absence due to Covid issues, Allevinah has deputised very efficiently.

He scored twice in three games, one each in the biggest games against Ghana and Morocco, his goals were a big reason Gabon finished second in Group C.

Officially listed as a striker but Allevinah plays more like a winger, drifting out wide and tormenting opposition defenders with his pace and trickery.

In a tournament where top teams have performed below expectations, the Black Stars of Ghana have done their best to be part of that trend.

Ghana lost the opening game of the group to Morocco in embarrassing fashion relative to the performance, not the scoreline. They lost 1-0 but only had 39% possession and never looked like scoring at any point in the game.

The next game against Gabon didn't turn out much better even though they scored, the game ended 1-1 and Ghana were ran ragged by a Gabon team without their best players in Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina.

The defeat against Comoros means that they finish bottom of the group with just one point and crash out of the group stages for the first time since 2006.

Gabon’s late equaliser against Ghana also turned out to be the most controversial moment in the group after Ghana had intentionally put the ball out of play for an injured player to receive needed attention.

Gabon took the throw-in and carried on playing instead of returning the ball to Ghana as a symbol of fair play. Gabon would go on to score from that sequence and the Ghanaians were infuriated which sparked a shoving contest on the pitch.

The referee even issued a red card to Benjamin Tetteh, a Ghanaian player on the bench which only made the Black Stars feel more aggrieved.

Captain Andre Ayew would go on to give the most spectacular post-match interview at AFCON 2021 yet in which he called Gabon a “small team” in a passionate rant.

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