Ghana through, Morocco out

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The result means the Black Stars top the group with three wins from three, while Morocco head home after Guinea drew 1-1 with Namibia to finish runners-up in the pool.

Ghana’s goals came from Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari in a game they controlled with ease, and but for some bad luck in front of goal, the margin of victory could have been much wider.

1 mins: Ghana get us underway. We’ll keep you updated with what is happening in the other game between Guinea and Namibia.

6 mins: Bassir has the first striker on goal, a stinging drive that is saved at the second attempt by Kingston. I see they haven’t managed to find a lawnmower in Accra yet and the pitch is still unacceptably long, with the ball bobbling about with every pass.

11 mins: Hesitant defending almost gives a chance to Morocco, Hadji can’t get a shot away. The opening 11 minutes have been a little scrappy to tell you the truth.

16 mins: Erbate gets a YELLOW CARD but it might have well been red for a terrible tackle on Essien. That was a leg-breaker! Muntari’s blistering free-kick is brilliantly saved by Lamyaghri.

21 mins: Still no score in the game between Namibia and Guinea. YELLOW CARD for Paintsil for a foul. Essien looks to be OK after the assault on him.

25 mins: It is a really tight affair to this point, with only Muntari’s free-kick troubling either keeper so far. There have also been a lot of free-kicks in the game, breaking up the rhythm of the play.

26 mins: GOAL! Well, commentators curse! Essien gets on the end of a clever free-kick from Muntari that deceives the Morocco defence and easily slides the ball past Lamyaghri. Now Morocco need to push forward and score twice or they are going home.

31 mins: This has livened up now! Painstil scores an own goal from the free-kick, but the referee had blown for a foul. Not sure why though, unlucky Morocco. Then at the other end Gyan goes close with a low drive that has the keeper beaten.

36 mins: Bassir gets an elbow in the face from Muntari. Probably not intentional, but painful nonetheless.

41 mins: Great play between Gyan and Owusu-Abeyie on the right, but the latter’s cross is disappointing and floats out of play. The game has settled down a bit again. Hadji tries to get a shot away, but Mensah is strong and he can only manage a tame effort which dribbles to Kingston.

44 mins: Muntari has an ambitious try from an angle that goes wide. Maybe should have crossed instead. Hadji gets a better strike in this time, but again Kingston moves comfortably to his left and saves.

45 mins: GOAL! Muntari scores with an angled shot from 10 yards after a brilliant driving run from Essien sets him up. Muntari does brilliantly because Essien’s pass was slightly over-hit, but he controlled it well and buried the shot. It now looks certain Ghana and Guinea will advance from Group A.

HALFTIME: Gyan has a last chance in the half but fires over. Excellent half for Ghana, Morocco need to find inspiration from somewhere if they are not to meekly limp out of this tournament.

46 mins: The second half has begun, 45 minutes to elimination for Morocco unless they can find at least two goals.

51 mins: Tarik Sektioui has replaced Houcine Kharja for Morocco. Gyan finds space on the left, but tries to get the ball back onto his right foot to shoot, but dallies too long and the chance is gone.

56 mins: Agogo is adjudged offside when clear on goal and that looked the wrong decision I’m afraid to say. Lucky let-off for Morocco. Monsef Zerka comes on for Hicham Aboucherouane for the North Africans. Agogo’s cross-cum-shot is palmed away, and Essien just can’t steer the rebound home under pressure from the defender.

61 mins: YELLOW CARD for Kabous for a cynical foul. Time is ebbing away for Morocco and they have hardly made Kingston work in the second half – or in the entire match to be fair. Guinea are leading Namibia now thanks to a Souleymane Youla goal. If things remain the same, Ghana will top the group and Guinea will finish second.

66 mins: Essien fires in a thunderous drive from 35-yards that goes just over the bar. The Chelsea star is then kicked in the chest – by accident – and goes down again for the second time in the match. He looks winded, but Black Stars fans will be hoping he has not popped a rib.

71 mins: Essien is back on. Owusu-Abeyie’s shot is easily saved.

76 mins: Gyan is never going to score. Agogo finds himself in acres of space on the right and puts in a great cross for the Udinese man. The striker flings himself at the ball brilliantly, makes strong contact, but Lamyaghri makes a ‘miracle’ save from all of one yard. Gyan has worked really hard tonight, but the footballing Gods are not with him.

81 mins: Namibia equalize through Brian Bendell! Doesn’t mean much in the greater scheme of things, but nice for the Southern African minnows.

86 mins: Agogo forces a save from Lamyaghri and Gyan just fails to pick up the rebound. Then he smacks the crossbar with a brilliant over-head kick. He has been excellent tonight, it is unbelievable he hasn’t scored. Andre Ayew comes on for Agogo. Muntari is carried off after smashing his head against the backside of Safri.

FULLTIME: Baffour Gyan comes on for his brother, Asamoah, while Haminu Draman enters the fray for Quincy Owusu-Abeyie. Abdelkarim Kissi comes on for Morocco to replace Abderrahmane Kabous. Hadji fires in a final shot, Kingston fumbles, but recovers to save.

MATCH STATS

Ghana 2 (Essien 26 Muntari 45)

Morocco 0

Yellow cards: John Painstil; El Armine Erbate, Abderrahmane Kabous

Ghana: 22 Richard Kingson, 2 Hans Sarpei, 5 John Mensah, 4 John Painstil, 18 Eric Addo, 11 Sulley Muntari, 8 Michael Essien, 6 Anthony Annan, 3 Asamoah Gyan, 9 Junior Agogo (Andre Ayew 84), 20 Quincy Owusu-Abeyie (Haminu Draman 88)

Morocco: 1 Nadir Lamyaghri, 2 Michael Bassir, 6 El Armine Erbate, 4 Abdeslem Ouaddou, 5 Talal El Karkouri, 18 Abderrahmane Kabous (Abdelkarim Kissi 90), 13 Houcine Kharja (Tarik Sektioui 46), 15 Youssef Safri, 23 Hicham Aboucherouane (Monsef Zerka 54), 17 Marouane Chamakh, 20 Youssef Hadji

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