Morocco’s Sofiane Boufal scored seven minutes from time to secure a 1-0 win over Ghana in their opening Group C match at the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday.
Boufal hammered home from close range after a mazy run into the penalty area from Zakaria Aboukhlal, only to be checked by Ghana Thomas Partey, with the ball then running perfectly for Boufal to score.
The goal came from a rare chance in a game where both sides showed defensive prowess but did little to impress in attack. The win sees Morocco move joint top of the group with Gabon, who beat Comoros Islands 1-0, also on Monday.
In the second match in the same group, Aaron Boupendza’s first-half finish was the difference as Gabon edged past Africa Cup of Nations debutants Comoros in Group C.
Gabon forward Louis Ameka latched on to a loose ball before playing in Boupendza to strike from a tight angle after 16 minutes.
The tournament, originally scheduled to be played in June and July 2021, will be played in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6, 2022, with Sky Sports showing all 52 games live.
In the second half Gabon’s Denis Bouanga twice forced Comoros keeper Ali Ahamada into fine reaction saves. Comoros created little in response as the West Africans cruised to victory.
Gabon now sit joint-top of Group C after Sofiane Boufal’s 83rd-minute strike had earlier handed Morocco a narrow win over Ghana.
Comoros, the Island nation in the Indian Ocean who qualified ahead of Kenya and Togo, dominated proceedings before Gabon’s opener against the run of play.
But once the two-time quarter-finalists went in front it was one-way traffic, even without star player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who missed this match after testing positive for Covid-19.
Comoros did cause one scare late in the second half when Gabon keeper Jean-Noel Amonome shovelled a long-range shot narrowly past his right-hand post.
Morocco face Comoros at 4pm on Friday, while Ghana take on Gabon in the other Group C clash later that day at 7pm. Both games are live on Sky Sports Football.
- A Tell /Agencies report