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AFCON 2021: Boufal breaks Ghanaians hearts as Morocco stun Black Stars in Group C Opener
- Former Southampton striker Sofiane Boufal scores late winner after pouncing on a loose ball in the Ghanaian 18-yard box
- The goal came from a rare chance in a game where both sides showed defensive prowess but did little to impress in attack
- Morocco came close to scoring a second in stoppage time after Sofyan Amrabat's strike was kept out by Jojo Wollacott but will feel satisfied with the end result
Former Southampton striker Sofiane Boufal was the hero for the Atlas Lions as Morocco edged out a resilient Ghana side in the opening game of Group C at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
Both teams were among the pre-tournament favourites to lift the title on February 6, but their final ball from crossing situations was poor and as a result, neither could create many chances in a cagey opening 45 minutes.
Boufal broke the West Africans resolve when he hammered home from close range in the 83rd minute after a cheeky run into the Ghanaian penalty area from Zakaria Aboukhlal that saw him tease the Ghana defence, only to be checked by Thomas Partey, with the ball then running perfectly for Boufal to score.
The game had little to cheer about in attack as both teams concentrated on keeping their shape in defence and were too cautious to be adventurous in the attack.
Ghana’s best effort in the Group C encounter fell to Joseph Paintsil’s whose brilliant curling effort from 25 yards was superbly tipped around the post by Yassine Bounou.
The West Africans will feel hard done by the result after having more shots (6) with three (3) on target as opposed to Morocco’s four (4) shots with just two (2) hitting the target.
The Atlas Lions however dominated possession having 67% of the ball in the entire game and looked by far the more composed team as opposed to the Black Stars.
The Man of the Match award was awarded to striker Sofiane Boufal for his match-winning strike.
Ghana will next face Gabon while Morocco slug it out with Comoros on Friday, January 14.
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AFCON 2021: Mane Strikes Late, Late Penalty as Senegal Steals Victory Against Zimbabwe
Earlier Sportsbrief reported Senegal had to toil for their 1-0 win against Zimbabwe in the opening match of group B at the 2021 African Cup of Nations. Sadio Mane lashed in a penalty with the last kick of the game that took place at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam.
The Warriors' Kelvin Madzongue handled the ball while diving in to block a shot with just seconds of added to go, leaving referee Mario Escobar with no choice but to point to the spot after a VAR consultation.