The Black Stars of Ghana began their 2021 Africa Cup of Nations campaign on an uninspiring note, losing 1-0 to North African giants Morocco in their Group C Opener at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaonde on Monday.
An 82nd minute strike from attacker Sofiane Boufal handed the Atlas Lions a narrow win over the four times African Champions to take charge of the group.
The former Southampton winger pounced on to a loose ball before hammering his effort into the far corner of Jojo Walacott’s post.
It was a rare moment of quality in an otherwise uneventful game in Yaounde as four-time winners Ghana frustrated their opponents.
Morocco, however were untroubled by their group rivals in the closing stages, cantering to their win.
The North African side came into the game having won all six of their World Cup qualifiers last year, but the 1976 winners were made to work for their three points.
Wolverhampton Wanderers defender Romain Saiss had gone close for the Atlas Lions, heading narrowly off target in a tightly contested format half.
For all of Morocco’s possession, Vahid Halilhodzic’s side were nearly behind in the 73rd minute as Genk star Joseph Paintsil’s curler was superbly stopped by keeper Yassine Bounou.
Black Stars skipper Andre Ayew also went close with a looping volley but it was Angers’ Boufal who net the winner at the other end minutes later.
And, after taking the lead, Morocco nearly doubled their advantage in the closing stages with Samy Mmaee heading a set-piece just wide.
Morocco face debutants Comoros on Friday (16:00 GMT) before Ghana play Gabon (19:00 GMT) in the second round of group C matches.