Ghana’s Black Stars kicked off their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations journey on a disappointing note, suffering a humiliating loss to Cape Verde in a Group B showdown on Sunday night in Abidjan.
Under the guidance of Portuguese coach Pedro Bubista, the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde clinched a well-deserved 2-1 victory at the Stade Félix Houphouët Boigny.
In an unexpected twist, Black Stars’ head coach Chris Hughton revealed an unconventional starting lineup, sidelining key players such as Inaki Williams, Daniel Amartey, Salis Abdul Samed, and Andre Ayew. Notably, Mohammed Kudus was absent from the match squad. Meanwhile, Ransford-Yeboah Konigsdorfer made an impactful debut with a competitive start for Ghana.
Cape Verde swiftly asserted dominance, securing a lead just 17 minutes into the game as Jamiro Monteiro seized on a fumble by goalkeeper Richard Ofori, converting a rebound from Jovane Cabral’s powerful shot.
Despite midfielder Majeed Ashimeru showcasing brilliance with a goal during a goalmouth scramble, VAR intervened, disallowing the effort for offside in the 36th minute.
The second half witnessed a resurgent Black Stars, with defender Alexander Djiku levelling the score by heading in a corner-kick from Jordan Ayew shortly after the break.
Cape Verde came tantalisingly close to securing a second goal, but a solid block by goalkeeper Richard Ofori thwarted Cabral’s effort after skillfully navigating through the defence.
Ofori made another crucial save to deny Gerry Rogrigues the match-winner for the Cape Verdians later on. The Blue Sharks ultimately secured the winning goal as Rogrigues capitalised on a significant defensive blunder, slotting the ball into an empty net.