Cape Verde grabbed a stoppage time winner to beat Ghana 2-1 in their AFCON Group B fixture at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny on Sunday night.
The Black Stars line-up featured Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Richard Ofori, and he was named by Chris Hughton in the starting line-up despite limited game time at his club.
It was Cabo Verde with the early pressure, and Ghana will have been relieved to see VAR turn down a penalty appeal in just the fourth minute. Antoine Semenyo went down in the opposite box in the 8th minute, but the referee waved play on immediately.
But it was 1-0 to Cape Verde in the 17th minute as Jamiro Monteiro followed up to tap home the rebound after Ofori had initially saved Jovane Cabral’s well-struck attempt from outside the box.
Ransford-Yeboah Konigsdorfer could not steer his shot on target in the 26th minute as Ghana had their best chance of the game to that point. Mohammed Salisu’s header was also off target six minutes later.
Ghana thought they were level in the 35th minute, through Majeed Ashimeru as his thunderous strike flew past Josimar Dias Vozinha, but the goal was overturned on VAR because an off-side Konigsdorfer obstructed Vozinha’s line of sight.
At the break, Monteiro’s effort separated the two teams.
The Blue Sharks saw a free-kick attempt three minutes in the second half strike the wall, and Tiago Dias ‘Bebe’ was unable to steer his follow-up attempt on target.
But just before the hour mark Ghana drew level, after a corner kick from Jordan Ayew found the head of Alexander Djiku, who steered it in to make it 1-1 in the 57th minute now.
Two minutes later the impressive Joseph Paintsil was just unable to get a good touch to the end of Semenyo’s cross, as Ghana pushed to take the lead. Ernest Nuamah’s 65th-minute attempt was blocked.
Bebe looked like he could give Cape Verde the lead again in the 67th minute as he pounced a defensive error, but he was unable to keep control of the ball and Ofori saved at his feet.
Ghana’s goalscorer Djiku made a crucial clearance in the 72nd minute, as he cleared Bebe’s goal-bound effort.
Ofori made a good save in the 83rd minute, as he denied Kenny Rocha from close range, after a good run into the box. And the Pirates keeper made another top save to deny Garry Rodriguez in the 90th minute, diving to stop his shot from the right.
But a defensive mix-up in stoppage time saw Cape Verde go back in front in the 92nd minute, as Rodriguez was able to knock the ball into an unguarded net, with Ofori and the defence caught off-guard.
Inaki Williams had a chance to get a late equaliser in the 93rd minute, but his glancing header went just wide of goal. Just before the final whistle Williams had another chance, but it sailed over the bar.
Cape Verde held on for the win and moved top of the group.
Earlier in the day Egypt needed a late equaliser to draw 2-2 with Mozambique in the other Group B game.