Tuesday January 24, 2012 Group Stage: Group D Finished Stade de Franceville

Ghana 1 - 0 Botswana

  • Mensah 25’

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  1. African Cup of Nations - Ghana open with nervy win

    African Cup of Nations - Ghana open with nervy win

    Ten-man Ghana enjoyed a winning start to their African Cup of Nations Group D campaign when beating Botswana 1-0 in Franceville. More

  • Live Commentary

    Time:90'
    • Ghana
    • Botswana
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    • 90+5' FULL TIME. Mensah scores the winner but also gets himself sent off as Ghana get off to a winning start. Botswana gave it a real go in the second half though.
    • 90+4' Now Gyan forces Marumo into a save with a firm effort and Inkoom only just fails to follow up to give Ghana a second.
    • 90+3' More excellent work from Gyan as he cushions a pass into the path of Annan, who rifles a first time effort wide of the post.
    • 90+2' The yellow card is produced to a Botswana player after a hefty challenge.
    • 90+1' We will have four additional minutes.
    • 90' The bombardment begins as Mongala and Ramohibidu send crosses into the Ghana box. This will be a tense finale.
    • 89' Kwarasey deals easily with a shot from range from Motlhabankwe.
    • 88' Ayew is unhappy to be replaced but Mohammed Abu comes on for Ghana.
    • 87' Gyan works hard again to win another free-kick. Since Mensah's dismissal he has been impeccable.
    • 85' Badu takes the set-piece and thunders his effort into the wall. Ghana have wasted too many free-kicks tonight.
    • 84' Now it is Ayew's turn to win a free-kick as he drifts in from the right and cleverly draws a foul from Thuma.
    • 82' Gyan has worked so hard tonight and he wins another free-kick for his side.
    • 80' A chance for Botswana! The lively Mongala finds space on the left wing and his wicked cross is cut out by Kwarasey as Jerome waits to head home.
    • 79' Gyan takes possession of the ball wide on the left and embarks on a decent run forward before unleashing a fierce effort that flies wide.
    • 78' Thuma goes into the book after a contretemps with Gyan. His challenge on the striker was messy and Gyan was furious as he went to remonstrate.
    • 76' Mongala tries to find space on the edge of the box and get a shot away but he is unable to do so as Ghana scramble the ball clear.
    • 74' Ayew tries to belt one in from about 50 yards as he spots the goalkeeper off his line but his Beckham-esque effort flies out of play. A decent attempt.
    • 73' Here is the change and it is Muntari who makes say.
    • 71' With John Mensah sent off, Ghana are readying near-namesake Jonathan Mensah to shore up the defence.
    • 69' Ngele takes the free-kick and slams his shot into the face of Badu. The Ghana star does down and needs treatment as he is a bit dizzy.
    • 68' It was a poor header from Annan that put Mensah in trouble and the man sent off looks gutted. Ghana down to ten men.
    • 67' RED CARD! The ball suddenly breaks for Jerome and as he races through on goal, Mensah clumsily brings him to ground just outside the box. He sacrificed himself for the team there.
    • 66' Muntari lines up another free-kick and this time can't beat the first man.
    • 65' Muntari takes the resulting free-kick and tries to power one in from 35 yards, only to see the ball rise high into the night air and over.
    • 64' Great stuff from Ayew. He jinks away from three markers before being brought to ground by a messy challenge from Ndiapo Letsholathebe.
    • 63' Botswana are much more threatening in this second half and Mongala drives in a shot at goal before the assistant raises his flag for offside.
    • 61' Motsepe replaced by Mogakolodi Ngele as Botswana also make a change.
    • 60' The first change of the game and Jordan Ayew is replaced by Masahudu Alhassan.
    • 59' Paintsil pulls a cross in from the right and Jordan Ayew is waiting in the box, only to see Botswana clear.
    • 58' Motlhabankwe gets into space down the right but his low ball into the box is nowhere near finding a team-mate and that is a waste.
    • 56' So a couple of great chances, one for either side, but Ghana retain a slender lead. I wonder if that clearance off the line will convince Botswana to give this more of a go.
    • 54' Andre Ayew takes a great touch to find space in the box from a Muntari pass and just as the Marseille man pulls the trigger, Ramohibidu slides in to make a fantastic block. What good defending.
    • 52' Boye with a brilliant clearance off the line! He leaps into the air to produce an acrobatic clearance and prevent the header from Moatlhaping from sneaking in! Mongala was also lurking to turn it in.
    • 50' Mosimanegape Ramohibidu does well from the corner as he heads away with his goalkeeper stranded after coming and fail to claim the ball under pressure from Mensah.
    • 49' Gyan whips in a dangerous cross but Muntari can't get on the end of it as the ball is turned behind for a corner to Ghana.
    • 48' Jordan Ayew displays good close control to keep the ball away from two markers and find a team-mate.
    • 47' Excellent work from Mensah as he holds off Ramatlhokwane to usher a long ball over the top out of play. The Botswana striker has had so little to feed off today.
    • 46' KICK OFF!
    • - Want to let me know what you think about that first half? Get in touch now! Follow @tomEurosport on Twitter
    • 45+1' HALF-TIME. Mensah's rather messy finish has Ghana in control against a robust Botswana side.
    • 45+1' We will have one added minute.
    • 45' The set-piece finds its way to Muntari and he shows some good footwork so sneak away from two markers before seeing his shot blocked.
    • 44' Nice work from Andre Ayew as he works his way into the box and when the ball is then worked wide to Gyan, he wins a corner as he darts into the area.
    • 43' Ghana have been in almost total control so far this evening and will feel comfortable at 1-0. However, they will be looking for more goals in the second half.
    • 41' Gyan sprints away from his marker on the right of the box and unleashes a ferocious effort from a tight angle that flies off target.
    • 40' Muntari looks for Gyan through the centre again but sees his low pass intercepted by a Botswana centre-back. No way through that time.
    • 38' A nice attempt from Jordan Ayew. He lays the ball square to team-mate Gyan, receives the ball back and curls a shot towards the far corner that Marumo plucks out of the air.
    • 37' Muntari supplies a clever through-ball through the centre of the pitch but Gyan just doesn't have the pace to get to it ahead of Marumo, who is off his line quickly to smother it.
    • 36' Ghana have enjoyed twice the level of possession of their opponents so far today.
    • 35' A nice move from a throw-in from Ghana but Mompati Thuma is alert to head clear for Botswana from the centre of the box.
    • 34' Jordan Ayew races onto a pass over the top and produces a cushioned header. However, the ball runs away from him.
    • 33' Muntari with a firm effort from the edge of the box but Ndiapo Letsholathebe throws himself in the way of the ball to produce a quite brilliant block.
    • 32' Mogogi Gabonamong is penalised for a rather reckless slide in on Inkoom. He didn't catch the man but it was a dangerous challenge.
    • 30' Inkoom looks as though he will be caught out by Moemedi Moatlhaping for a second as he chases a ball over the top but the left-back recovers and intelligently draws a foul.
    • 29' A lovely move as Badu plays the ball forward and Muntari lays the ball off to Gyan first time. However, the reverse pass is wayward.
    • 28' Still the tough challenges continue with Mogogi Gabonamong clattering into Muntari. Still no bookings though.
    • 27' Ghana threaten again but Marumo clasps the ball gratefully.
    • 25' GOAL! Ghana 1-0 Botswana! John Mensah puts the favourites into the lead. A corner comes in from the left and Gyan leaps to get a faint flick-on at the near post, turning the ball into the path of Mensah, who bundles it over the line off his thigh.
    • 24' Badu embarks on a surging run through the middle of the pitch and keeps his balance despite hurdling a number of challenges to win a corner.
    • 23' It looks as though a section of the crowd here in Gabon are staging an impromptu version of the Poznan.
    • 22' Ghana have dominated possession but clear-cut chances have not been forthcoming, which will be a matter of some concern.
    • 20' By the way, your correspondent is a big fan of Ghana left-back Inkoom as he was the final sticker required to complete the 2010 World Cup Panini album.
    • 19' Now Andre Ayew drifts into space into the box and tries to get on the end of a curling cross, only to be caught off side.
    • 18' Inkoom creeps into the box but finds himself unable to get on the end of a low cross from Andre Ayew.
    • 17' Sulley Muntari receives a pass from John Boye and tries a frankly ridiculous effort from about 35 yards. Ofentse Nato slides in to block and the force exerted on the ball causes it to burst. We need a replacement.
    • 15' Now it is the turn of Tshepo Motlhabankwe to produce a clumsy challenge and Ghana look to be getting frustrated with the rough treatment they have been on the end of.
    • 14' Emmanuel Agyemang Badu takes the set-piece and tries to catch out Marumo at his near post with a low effort. However, he gets it all wrong as he pulls his shot well wide.
    • 13' Another foul from Botswana and it is Motsepe again. He must be really testing the referee's patience.
    • 12' Anthony Annan plays in Samuel Inkoom with a lovely first-time pass down the line but the left-back slips and fails to get the ball under control as he fouls his man.
    • 11' Andre Ayew, who is switching flanks with brother Jordan, swings a cross in for Gyan and the striker's angled header flies harmlessly into the arms of Marumo.
    • 10' Ghana string a move together before the ball is played into the path of Jordan Ayew in the centre of the pitch and 20 yards from goal. He takes a wild swing at the ball though and fails to hit the target.
    • 9' Ouch. Gyan, with the number three shaved into the side of his head, is clattered by an awful challenge from Motsepe. He came over the top of the ball and caught Gyan above the ankle. It should have been a booking.
    • 8' Botswana look happy to sit deep and frustrate Ghana and it is a perfectly legitimate and sensible approach given the vast disparity in ability between the teams.
    • 7' Botswana's Patrick Motsepe has the first chance of the game. He makes a poor attempt at shooting with his first attempt but then sees the ball bounce in front of him and lashes a volley well over the bar.
    • 6' Jordan Ayew slips when attempting to collect a through-ball but Botswana put themselves under pressure when Mongala produces a dodgy back-pass for Modiri Marumo.
    • 5' Andre Ayew, the elder of the two brothers from Marseille, is sandwiched by two players and this is in a dangerous area for Ghana. The set-piece comes in but Gyan can't direct his header back across goal as it drifts out for a goal-kick.
    • 3' It appears as though Sulley Muntari, of Internazionale, whill be playing in behind Gyan for Ghana, with the two Ayews out wide on the flanks.
    • 2' Phenyo Mongala draws an early foul from Leicester City defender John Paintsil as Botswana win a free-kick. Nothing comes of it though.
    • 1' KICK OFF!
    • 15.58 The two national anthems are nicely observed in Franceville and it looks a decent atmosphere. Let's hope for a spectacle of football for everyone to enjoy.
    • 15.55 Ghana are playing in all white and Botswana are in sky blue. The kits are a touch too similar for my liking, but there you go. You might have thought Ghana could have stuck on their change kit.
    • 15.50 Want to get in contact during the game? Say hi on Twitter and I will try and use some of your comments here. Follow Tom Adams on Twitter!
    • 15.45 So Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan, currently on loan at Al Ain, starts up front for Ghana despite struggling with injury of late. There were also suggestions Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic would field a weaker side in anticipation of stronger tests to come but Ghana look pretty handy to me.
    • 15.40 TEAMS: Ghana: Kwarasey, Inkoom, Mensah, Boye, Paintsil, Muntari, Badu, Annan, J Ayew, Gyan, A Ayew. /// Botswana: Marumo, Tshepo, Letsholathebe, Thuma, Ramoshibidu, Gabonamong, Nato, Motsepe, Moatlhaping, Mongala, Jerome.
    • 15.35 Stat from the Eurosport TV team: "Botswana Striker Jerome Ramatlhakwane scored 5 of Botswana's 7 goals in ACN2012 qualifying."
    • 15.30 Botswana are lead by Stanley Tshosane, who is an army colonel and a part-time manager in the Botswana Premier League. Their monumental task is made all the more difficult by the broken arm suffered by star forward Joel Mogorosi and the suspension that rules out midfielder Dipsy Selolwane.
    • 15.25 Though we have seen one shock this tournament - Senegal's defeat to Zambia - Ghana are unlikely to follow suit given they are arguably the continent's best team, demonstrated by their success in reaching the quarter-finals of the last World Cup.
    • 15.20 On paper this match represents arguably the biggest mis-match in the tournament. Ghana are four-time winners, have appeared in the finals 17 times and in 2010 their young side were runners-up. Botswana, by contrast, are at the finals for the very first time and are ranked 95 in the world.
    • 15.15 Hello and welcome to our live text commentary on the African Cup of Nations Group D clash between Ghana and Botswana in Franceville, Gabon.
  • Summary

    • 90+4' Now Gyan forces Marumo into a save with a firm effort and Inkoom only just fails to follow up to give Ghana a second.
    • 90+3' More excellent work from Gyan as he cushions a pass into the path of Annan, who rifles a first time effort wide of the post.
    • 80' A chance for Botswana! The lively Mongala finds space on the left wing and his wicked cross is cut out by Kwarasey as Jerome waits to head home.
    • 79' Gyan takes possession of the ball wide on the left and embarks on a decent run forward before unleashing a fierce effort that flies wide.
    • 74' Ayew tries to belt one in from about 50 yards as he spots the goalkeeper off his line but his Beckham-esque effort flies out of play. A decent attempt.
    • 67' RED CARD! The ball suddenly breaks for Jerome and as he races through on goal, Mensah clumsily brings him to ground just outside the box. He sacrificed himself for the team there.
    • 54' Andre Ayew takes a great touch to find space in the box from a Muntari pass and just as the Marseille man pulls the trigger, Ramohibidu slides in to make a fantastic block. What good defending.
    • 52' Boye with a brilliant clearance off the line! He leaps into the air to produce an acrobatic clearance and prevent the header from Moatlhaping from sneaking in! Mongala was also lurking to turn it in.
    • 41' Gyan sprints away from his marker on the right of the box and unleashes a ferocious effort from a tight angle that flies off target.
    • 38' A nice attempt from Jordan Ayew. He lays the ball square to team-mate Gyan, receives the ball back and curls a shot towards the far corner that Marumo plucks out of the air.
    • 37' Muntari supplies a clever through-ball through the centre of the pitch but Gyan just doesn't have the pace to get to it ahead of Marumo, who is off his line quickly to smother it.
    • 33' Muntari with a firm effort from the edge of the box but Ndiapo Letsholathebe throws himself in the way of the ball to produce a quite brilliant block.
    • 25' GOAL! Ghana 1-0 Botswana! John Mensah puts the favourites into the lead. A corner comes in from the left and Gyan leaps to get a faint flick-on at the near post, turning the ball into the path of Mensah, who bundles it over the line off his thigh.
    • 14' Emmanuel Agyemang Badu takes the set-piece and tries to catch out Marumo at his near post with a low effort. However, he gets it all wrong as he pulls his shot well wide.
    • 10' Ghana string a move together before the ball is played into the path of Jordan Ayew in the centre of the pitch and 20 yards from goal. He takes a wild swing at the ball though and fails to hit the target.
    • 7' Botswana's Patrick Motsepe has the first chance of the game. He makes a poor attempt at shooting with his first attempt but then sees the ball bounce in front of him and lashes a volley well over the bar.
    • 15.40 TEAMS: Ghana: Kwarasey, Inkoom, Mensah, Boye, Paintsil, Muntari, Badu, Annan, J Ayew, Gyan, A Ayew. /// Botswana: Marumo, Tshepo, Letsholathebe, Thuma, Ramoshibidu, Gabonamong, Nato, Motsepe, Moatlhaping, Mongala, Jerome.

Team Line-up & Ratings

  • Ghana

    Manager: Goran Stevanovic

  • Botswana

    Manager: Stanley Tshosane

  • Line-up

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