Four-time African champions Ghana have been dumped out at the group stage of the 2021 Africa Cup of Narions, while seven teams have now qualified for the last-16.
With nothing but three points needed in order to have a fighting chance of securing a best third-place finish the Black Stars got off to the worst possible start against tournament debutants Comoros.
Captain El Fardou Mohamed Ben Nabouhane netted their first ever goal at AFCON finals with a clinical finish early on before Andre Ayew was sent off at the mid-way point of the first-half after colliding with goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina.
After being stretchered off in tears, his absence wasn’t felt immediately as they made it 2-0 in the second half through Ahmed Mogni before the West Africans fought back to draw level at 2-2 through goals from Richmon Bokaye and Alexander Djiku in quick succession.
But it proved nothing more than consolations as Mogni grabbed his second to seal a historic win over their glittering opponents – their first ever AFCON victory – to send Ghana packing.
The result meant Gabon qualified alongside Morocco in Group C after they held the Atlas Lions to a 2-2 draw in Yaounde.
In the early kick offs, Senegal and Guinea both secured qualification to the last-16 of the Africa Cup of Nations despite their failure to beat Malawi and Zimbabwe respectively.
The West Africans joined hosts Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Morocco and Nigeria as the first sides to book their spot in the knockout stages of Africa’s biennial showpiece.
Aliou Cisse’s side scored only one goal, a 93rd-minute penalty in the 1-0 win over the Warriors out of their three games but progressed in second place behind their WAFU rivals.
They failed to find the net against Guinea, and the Flames on Tuesday, while Zimbabwe managed to secure a 2-1 victory over the Naby Keita led side who scored a second-half consolation.
Knowledge Musona and Kuda Mahachi’s first-half strikes proved in vain as they were eliminated prior to kickoff but it proved a fitting send-off in what is expected to be his final game in international football.
Meanwhile, the Flames are likely to join the African giants in the next round as one of the best third-placed finished sides.
The six teams qualified so far:
- Burkina Faso