Four-time African champions Ghana have been eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) after a shock 3-2 defeat to Comoros on the final day of group C fixtures.
El Fardou Ben Mohamed scored Comoros’ first-ever goal at the continental tournament before Ahmed Mogni added a second just past the hour-mark for the debutants on Tuesday.
Goals from Richmond Boakye and Alexander Djiku levelled the game up for Ghana, but Mogni grabbed a winner for the island nation with five minutes remaining.
It is the first time in their history that Ghana have failed to win at least one group match having made 22 past visits to the tournament, their cause not helped in Garoua by playing for 65 minutes with 10 men after a harsh early red card for lead striker Andrey Ayew.
Ghana was last dumped out in the group stage in 2006.
Its squad of players from top clubs was pitted against a Comoros team whose two-goal hero Mogni plays in the third division in France.
Morocco topped the group after a 2-2 draw with Gabon in another pulsating game on Tuesday.
Morocco, which had already qualified, twice came from behind and snatched a point with a curling free kick from Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi with six minutes to go.
Gabon was missing its three best players – captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Mario Lemina sent back to their clubs for more medical tests after suffering from the aftereffects of COVID-19 while forward Denis Bouanga was among a new group of players to test positive for the coronavirus.
Gabon still advanced second in the group and Comoros has a chance to move on to the knockout stages as one of the best third-place teams and really write a fairy-tale in its first major tournament.
Earlier, Senegal finished atop Group B with a 0-0 draw with Malawi. Zimbabwe, which had already been eliminated, provided yet another surprise by upsetting Guinea 2-1 in the other Group B game.
Despite the loss, Guinea also advanced behind group winner Senegal with those two teams taking the automatic qualifying places as expected but not in the manner foreseen.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES