Cameroon, Ghana draw leaves group wide open at CAN - GulfToday

Cameroon, Ghana draw leaves group wide open at CAN

Mubarak-Wakaso

Ghana’s Mubarak Wakaso vies for the ball with Cameroon’s Karl Toko Ekambi during their Africa Cup of Nations match on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

Owusu Kwabena rattled the crossbar for Ghana as they drew 0-0 with defending champions Cameroon on Saturday in the third successive goalless Africa Cup of Nations match.

Substitute Kwabena came on after 87 minutes and immediately went closest to breaking the deadlock in a cagey Group F clash in Ismailia.

Ghana had another chance to beat Cameroon for the first time in five attempts at the Cup of Nations, but a shot from Andrew Viadom lacked power and Andre Onana saved comfortably.

Billed as a highlight of the 36-match group phase in Egypt, the game produced little excitement as the defences dominated.

Seeking a sixth African title, Cameroon top the table with four points, four-time champions Ghana have two.

Meanwhile, Benin and Guinea Bissau completed a hat-trick of goalless draws with a stalemate that left both teams waiting for their first-ever win at the competition.

In Group F, Benin and Guinea Bissau rarely looked like breaking the sequence in a scrappy match short of clear chances.

A draw always seemed the logical result in the Group F game given their respective historical records at the finals.

Benin, taking part for the fourth time, have drawn two and lost eight of their previous 10 matches in the competition while Guinea-Bissau, at their second finals, went into the match with a record of three defeats and a draw in four games. Benin have two points from two games, level with Ghana, while Guinea-Bissau have one and face Ghana in their final game. Cameroon lead the group with four.

Steve Mounie went closest to breaking the deadlock when he sent a header over the bar in the 75th minute.

Jordan Adeoti sent an early effort into the side-netting for Benin and also had the best chance of the first half when he burst down the left but was pushed wide and his shot was saved by Jonas Mendes.

Piqueti and Pele were lively for Guinea Bissau, who have half their squad based in Portugal, and Sori Mane had their best effort when he won the ball, galloped forward but saw his shot deflected over.

“Our team did their job, we tried to cut their lines, we created some chances of our own and I think a draw was a fair result,” said Guinea-Bissau coach Baciro Cande.

“It is very difficult for us to qualify but in football everything is possible and our target is to get to the round of 16.

“We know Ghana are very powerful, very strong but we will play our normal game, with no pressure.”

Earlier on Saturday, Angola and Mauritania drew 0-0 in the first goalless draw of the tournament after the previous 21 matches produced 43 goals.

Cameroon made four changes and Ghana three after their first group matches with the trophy-holders seeking a victory that would clinch qualification for the second round.

Ghanaian Thomas Partey squandered a good early chance when he blazed over from close range after being set up just outside the box.

Christian Atsu from Premier League club Newcastle United had to go off injured after only 15 minutes and Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah sent in Samuel Owuso.

As the half progressed at the Ismailia Stadium, five-time African champions Cameroon twice came close to taking the lead.

A superb sliding tackle by Jonathan Mensah, recalled in place of suspended John Boye, foiled Karl Toko Ekambi as he prepared to shoot.

Goalkeeper Richard Ofori rescued Ghana soon after, brilliantly pushing away a Christian Bassogog attempt after an Ekambi cut-back.

With defences in control as the second half progressed, there were more attempts from long range and Mubarak Wakaso was just off target for Ghana.

Agence France-Presse