Ghana captain Andre Ayew dismissed Gabon as a “small team” as a controversial late draw saw Friday’s Africa Cup of Nations clash between the teams end 1-1 after title contenders Morocco , secure their place in the round of 16. The former champions were on course to claim their first win in Group C only for Jim Allevinah to score a superb 88th-minute equalizer that put Gabon on the brink of the next round but left Ghana’s hopes on the edge. of the knife The Black Stars were furious that Gabon scored after opting not to return the ball when Ghana took it offside when midfielder Daniel-Kofi Kyereh went down injured.
“It was very small of him, but that’s the way it is with small teams,” Ayew said.
“We put the ball out of play, and it’s fair game in football to return the ball. If they had, they wouldn’t have scored. They didn’t have a chance.”
In regulation time a jostling fight broke out on the pitch and Ghanaian Benjamin Tetteh was shown a red card.
It was a good result for Gabon, who were again without star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Mario Lemina.
The duo missed the team’s opening victory over Comoros after testing positive for Covid-19 and sat out this match after some residue of their infection was detected in their negative test on the eve of the game.
Ghana has just one point, with Gabon on four and Morocco on a maximum of six from two matches after defeating tournament debutants Comoros 2-0 earlier at the same Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé.
Selim Amallah gave the 1976 champions an early lead and then set up substitute Zakaria Aboukhlal to seal victory with a minute to go.
In the middle, Morocco were regularly frustrated as Nayef Aguerd hit the underside of the crossbar with a header and Comoros goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina made some heroic saves.
Boina, who plays in France’s amateur regional fifth division, made a notable quadruple save at the line from him and avoided a late penalty from Youssef En-Nesyri.
Morocco need only a draw against Gabon to finish as group winners, while the Indian Ocean island nation Comoros are still seeking their first goal and a point in their first Nations Cup.
Goals have been few and far between throughout the Nations Cup so far, with only five of the 18 games played involving more than a single goal.
After losing the 2019 final to Algeria, Senegal have high hopes of finally winning their first continental title in Cameroon, but needed a 97th-minute penalty from Sadio Mane to beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their opener and on Friday. drew 0-0 with West African neighbors Guinea in Bafoussam.
When Mane took on his Liverpool team-mate Naby Keita, the monotonous draw in the capital of West Cameroon left both teams well placed to qualify from Group B.
Senegal and Guinea sit on four points, while Malawi are right behind them after coming from behind to win 2-1 against Zimbabwe.
Participating in only their third Nations Cup, the Malawi Flames earned just their second win in the final and will go into their final game against Senegal with a chance of reaching the knockout stages.
Ishmael Wadi headed Zimbabwe in front in the 38th minute, but Orlando Pirates’ Frank Mhango quickly equalized and then scored the winner just before the hour mark.
While Malawi dreams of reaching the knockout stage for the first time, Zimbabwe have failed to win any of their last eight matches at the AFCON finals.
Warriors coach Norman Mapeza admitted their chances of reaching the Round of 16 were slim, saying “our only hope is to qualify as a third-place team and to do that we need to beat a good Guinean team convincingly.” “.
There are just two games on Saturday, with Nigeria playing Sudan and Mohamed Salah’s Egypt, the record seven-time champion, playing Guinea-Bissau in Garoua in Group D.