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Africa Cup of Nations

Ghana floored by Algeria in Afcon 2021 test game

19:59 GMT 05/01/2022
Thomas Partey Ghana
The Black Stars could not hold their own against the defending Africa Cup of Nations champions

Ghana’s build-up to the Africa Cup of Nations tournament suffered a setback by a 3-0 defeat to defending champions Algeria in an international friendly fixture on Wednesday.

A first-half goal from Adam Ounas, a Jonathan Mensah own goal and an Islam Slimani effort ensured victory for the North Africans in the preparatory game at Education City Stadium in the Qatari capital of Doha.

The game was a first test match for both sides ahead of the tournament which runs between January 9 to February 6 in Cameroon.

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac was without the influential duo of captain Andre Ayew and Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew for the midweek encounter, owing to the duo’s late arrival in camp.

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey led the team out and Leicester City defender Daniel Amartey started at right-back while KAS Eupen goalkeeper Nurudeen Abdul Manaf was handed his first senior international appearance.

Algeria left star man Riyad Mahrez and West Ham United attacker Said Benrahma on the bench, with coach Djamel Belmadi putting trust in the likes of Yacine Brahimi, Ounas and striker Baghdad Bounedjah.

It took only eight minutes for The Dessert Warriors to break the deadlock as Ounas cut back onto his left foot in taking on Gideon Mensah and beat goalkeeper Nurudeen with a near-post shot.

Algeria continued to control the game but disappointingly failed to add any more goals for the rest of the half.

After the break, Ghana raised their game and appeared to have taken dominance of the game but it was the North Africans who went 2-0 up in the 75th minute, when Jonathan Mensah, in an attempt to clear a cross, sent the ball into his own net.

That was before St. Gallen goalkeeper Lawrence Ati-Zigi replaced Nurudeen in goal for the Black Stars.

Eleven minutes to full-time, Algeria scored again when Ati-Zigi failed to grab a low cross first-time, Slimani capitalising on the mistake to slot home from close range for their third goal.

Ghana are set to open their Afcon campaign with a clash with Morocco on Monday, a day before Dessert Warriors face Sierra Leone in their opening game.