Ghana vs Congo U23 AFCON: Black Meteors Win Five-Goal Thriller

Ghana vs Congo U23 AFCON: Black Meteors Win Five-Goal Thriller
Credit: Iconsport

The Black Meteors of Ghana kicked off their U23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 campaign with an exciting clash with Congo. Like the opening match in Group A, this clash wasn't devoid of goals, as it turned out to be a five-goal thriller. That said, let's see how things went down on Sunday evening.

Relatively slow start to Ghana vs Congo

Although there were five goals scored in this match, it may interest you to know that the first half ended goalless. Both teams started slowly, trying to test each other's defences. While the first half wasn't dull per se, both teams registered their first shot on goal with the half-time break approaching.

The first real attempt came in the 39th minute, when Congo's Exaucé Nzaou found Archange Dieudonné Bintsouka in the box. Despite the best efforts of Ghana's Terry Yegbe, Bintsouka managed to fire his shot on goal, which was saved by Ibrahim Danlad. Ghana mounted a quick counterattack a few seconds later, but Congo's Jacques Bowamba ensured it amounted to nothing. That said, the first half ended with just the one shot on target.

Black Meteors find their stride vs Congo

After the half-time break, Ghana's head coach Ibrahim Tanko made two substitutions that changed the course of the game. CFR Cluj's Emmanuel Yeboah came on for FC Zurich's Daniel Afriyie, who had struggled against Congo's backline in the first half. Interestingly, Yeboah had a stellar performance, assisting Ernest Nuamah for Ghana's first goal just five minutes after he came on. The CFR Cluj forward didn't stop there, as he bagged a brace, including an 83rd-minute penalty, giving the Black Meteors a three-goal lead.

Congo try to mount a comeback

Interestingly, it was Tanko's substitutions that changed the course of the match once more; but this time in Congo's favour. The Black Meteors had a three-goal lead in the 90th minute, and Tanko decided to make three changes at the same time. This move almost turned out to be costly for the Ghanaians, as Congo scored two stoppage-time goals in two minutes, trying to claw their way back into the match. Fortunately, Tanko's men managed to hold on for all three points.

Where this leaves both teams on the table

With Ghana's victory over Congo, the Black Meteors now lead the Group A standings. They are currently tied on points and also on goal difference with Morocco, but are ahead on goals scored. On the other hand, Congo find themselves in third place; they are tied with last-placed Guinea on zero points, but ahead on goals scored. Congo will try to redeem themselves as they take on Morocco and Guinea in their last two games.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

Kelechi is a huge sports fan with over 10 years of betting experience. He has written thousands of match previews on football, tennis, basketball and American football in the past few years.