Ghana’s Black Stars faced a disappointing start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign, suffering a 2-1 defeat to Cape Verde in Group B.
The four-time African champions, who exited the competition in the previous edition with a 3-2 loss to Comoros, showed signs of another early exit in this tournament. Here are five key takeaways from the match, as outlined by Ghanasoccernet’s Herbert Boakye Yiadom:
Chris Hughton’s Midfield Changes
In a departure from his usual double pivot, coach Chris Hughton opted for an attacking midfield trio, featuring Baba Iddrisu, Majeed Ashimeru, and Ransford Yeboah Konigsdorffer. However, the decision to start the inexperienced Ransford Yeboah did not yield the desired results. Mohammed Salisu also had a rough start clearly from his lack of game time all season. The last time the Monaco played for the Black Stars was at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Salisu struggled throughout the game and needed to be saved by Alexander Djiku.
Improved First Half Performance
Despite conceding a goal, the first-half performance against Cape Verde was arguably the best in Chris Hughton’s tenure. Changes to the midfield, including the introduction of Majeed Ashimeru and Ransford Yeboah, allowed the Black Stars to create more chances and showcase better attacking play.
Richard Ofori’s Match Fitness
Goalkeeper Richard Ofori, lacking regular action at his club side Orlando Pirates, showed signs of rustiness. Despite occasional jittery moments, Ofori made crucial saves to keep Ghana in the game.
Hughton’s second-half substitutions raised eyebrows, particularly the decision to drop Joseph Paintsil, the most attacking threat, and introduce Andre Ayew and Inaki Williams, who struggled due to a lack of supply from the midfield. The substitution of Majeed Ashimeru for Salis Abdul Samed appeared to signal a defensive approach.
Failure to Dominate Against Minnows
The Black Stars once again struggled to dominate against a perceived minnow on the continent.
Coach Chris Hughton has yet to impose his ideas and tactics on the team, with Cape Verde outclassing Ghana in the match and deserving their victory.
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