Ghana, Benin share the spoils

Ghana opened their Africa Cup Of Nations Group campaign with a 2-2 draw against Benin on Tuesday night.

The Black Stars had Maritzburg United shot-stopper Richard Ofori in goal while veteran striker Asamoah Gyan was named on the bench. On the other hand, the Squirrels were missing their influential captain Stephane Sessegnon, who was suspended after being sent off in their last qualifier match against Algeria.

Benin hit the ground running as Mickaël Pote broke the deadlock in just the second minute of the match after weaving his way through the centre of the box before firing a low strike past Ofori.

Kwesi Appiah’s charges reacted quickly to the early set-back as Andre Ayew levelled matters in the ninth minute with a powerful strike from just inside the box that beat goalkeeper Fabien Farnolle low at his near post.

Ghana were forced to make their first substitution with ten minutes remaining of the first stanza as Thomas Agyepong sustained an injury and he was replaced by Samuel Owusu.

Three minutes before the break, Jordan Ayew grabbed the lead for Ghana three minutes before halftime with a clinical strike after being picked out by Kasim Nuhu.

The Black Stars were dealt a blow 10 minutes in to the second half as John Boye was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the game. Benin took full advantage as Pote levelled matters in the 63rd minute after turning home a cross from Jodel Dossou.

With 20 minutes to go, Thomas Partey almost restored Ghana's lead 20 minutes before time with a cracking and curling free-kick from the edge of the box that was turned away by shot-stopper Farnolle.

Huddersfield Town striker Steve Mounie nearly snatched the winner for the Squirrels in stoppage but his close-range header sailed over the mark as the encounter ended all square.