Holders Cameroon off to a flier, 10-man Ghana held
The first round of Group F matches at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations were played on Tuesday night with defending champions Cameroon assuming group leadership early with a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau in Ismailia. In the late kick off, 10-man Ghana were held to a 2-2 draw by Benin in an entertaining tie.
Defending champions Cameroon put behind them their bonus row that saw them almost miss their flight to Egypt to put up a good performance against Bissau and start off well.
The holders arrived in Egypt just four days ago after staging a sit in back in Yaounde after failing to get assurances over payments of their bonuses and allowances. But once that was sorted out, they quickly got into business.
Yaya Banana and substitute Stephane Bahoken scored in the second half to hand them a favorable start to their title defense.
Cameroon had chances to score in the first half but most went begging with Zambo Anguissa, Christian Bassogog missing great opportunities to score.
In the second half, the Indomitable Liones came improved offensively and got their opening goal in the 66th minute, Banana bouncing a header at the backpost off a Karl Toko Ekambi corner. They doubled their tally just three minutes later, Bahoken slamming the ball home just two minutes after coming on.
A clearance off a cross hit Guinea Bissau defender Sory Mane and the ball fell kindly on Bahoken who beat the keeper from close range. Cameroon’s next assignment is against Ghana on Saturday.
In the late kick off, Ghana were held to a 2-2 draw by Benin who scored the tournament’s quickest goals yet. Mickael Pote scored after just 105 seconds on the clock before he completed his brace in the second half, in between goals from the Ayew brothers, Andre and Jordan.
Ghana were reduced to 10 men in the second half after John Boye received one of the most reckless red cards ever, getting a second yellow for time wasting after he had earlier been booked for a bad tackle.
Benin opened the scoring after just one minute and 45 seconds, Pote beating Richard Ofori from close range after racing into the box from 45 yards out and evading a challenge from Lumor Agbenyenu.
Ghana responded just seven minutes later with Andre controlling a deflected cross from his brother Jordan inside the box before taking a low shot on the turn planting the ball into the bottom left corner.
Jordan the got a goal for himself three minutes to the break when he raced on to a through pass from Thomas Partey before slamming the ball into the roof of the net.
Benin equalized 10 minutes after Boye was sent off when Pote completed his brace with an improvised backheel inside the box.