The Black Stars of Ghana got their 2019 TOTAL AFCON to a bizarre start with a disappointing 2-2 opener against the Squirrels of Benin at the Ismailia Stadium in Egypt.
The four times AFCON winners failed to gel all game long and worsened their campaign with a red card to John Boye in the second half of the game.
A rather strange looking starting eleven saw James Kwesi Appiah leaving Asamoah Gyan, Baba Rahman and Kwadwo Asamoah on the bench in order to accommodate Lumor Agbenyenu, Thormas Agyapong and the Ayew brothers.
The starting 4-2-3-1 formation, led by Jordan Ayew upfront, failed miserably at both ends of the pitch with the Ayews individually rescuing Ghana from a starring defeat.
A dream start to the game saw the burly looking Micheal Pote opening the scoring for the Squirrels just less than 2 minutes into the game.
The honeymoon start proved to be the catalyst for Michel Dussuyer’s men as they pinned Ghana for the rest of the game.
With Thormas Partey and Mubarack Wakaso struggling to control the tempo of the game, the Squirrels stamped their authority on the pitch across every department.
Brotherly telepathy between Jordan Ayew and his senior brother Andre Ayew saw the latter pulling parity for Ghana with an acute spin. It was barely deserved from the Ghanaian’s performance but pulled parity for the Kwesi Appiah and his side.
The 10th minute equalizer calmed down nerves across the pitch with the Black Stars beginning to settle slowly into the game.
Thormas Agyapong saw his AFCON debut marred by injury with 10 minutes to recess and was duly replaced by Samuel Owusu, who will later be subbed off.
At 1-1 and with the pendulum settling across the pitch, the Black Stars raced into a 2-1 lead thanks to defensive hauler at the back. The England based Ghanaian shot Ghana into the lead from nowhere to send the stadium ago with virtually the last kick of the first half.
The return of the second 45 minutes can as well be dubbed as the worst Black Stars performance in history-chaotic defending, disjointed midfield and nonexistent attack. It summed up the technical incompetency of their trainer. They chased Benin for the major part of the second half, even when they were playing 11 against 11.
A first caution to John Boye was followed by a 55th minute second yellow card as the FC Metz defender left the pitch in tears. His day was over with 35 minutes to play.
The ten men failed to cover up for the lost colleague and as expected, allowed the lead to slip through their nose.
A harmless freekick for the Squirrels of Benin proved to be the missing addend as they converted in comic fashion to peg the game at 2-2, by same Micheal Pote.
The 63rd minute equalizer deflated the egos of the Ghanaian players and boosted the innate self belief of the Squirrels in the disappointing game.
James Kwesi Appiah opted to leave Kwadwo Asamoah on the bench even when substitute, Samuel Owusu, was subbed off after coming on from the bench.
Afriyie Acquah came on for Andre Ayew on the stroke of full time as the game came to a close with 2 goals to either side.