Angola 0-1 Ghana: Blackstars Dump Hosts Out Of AFCON

The Blackstars put in a tactical and workmanlike performance to deny the Palancas Negras passageway to the final four.

Angola 0-1 Ghana Lineups/Stats
African Cup of Nations Fixtures, Results

The first quarter final of the knockout stages at the African Cup of Nations got underway with Angola kicking off proceedings. The home side immediately looked the brighter and more energetic of the two teams as they forced a few set piece efforts in the opening two minutes.

Just as he did during the group stages, Mabina was showing signs of danger on his right side and drew the games first yellow card on Ayew after some lovely ball skills. Meanwhile, the visitors had their first offensive in the 5th minute but Draman found Zuela in his way as he to maneuver into the penalty area.

In the 8th minute Mabina’s cross from the right was nearly deflected into Kingson’s goal when Addo made a mess of his attempted clearance. Shortly thereafter the same player almost repeated his mistake but his goalkeeper was there to clear the danger.

Just as it looked like Angola’s pressure was beginning to pay dividends, Asamoah Gyan got on the end of a defense splitting pass from Emmanuel Badu and took one touch before finishing expertly into the bottom left corner. The rapid counter attack stunned the Angolan spectators in the stadium who hadn’t yet seen Ghana fire so much as a warning shot in the game.

Manuel Jose’s team responded by conserving the ball and trying to build their attacks patiently after going behind but their attempts lacked bite. Frustrations began showing as time wore on with them looking to bypass the dense Ghanaian midfield using long balls that were not finding their intended targets.

Their luck almost changed in the 29th when a wide open Manucho got on the end of a lovely cross from Flavio Amado but his header was right at the goalkeeper. Almost immediately after that, Kingson was called upon to save his team once more and was happy to oblige.

In the 34th minute, the glovesman almost went from hero to villain as a silly mistake on his part prompted the referee to award Angola a free kick a yard inside the box. Fortunately for him, Flavio’s shot went well high and wide.

The Palancas Negras enjoyed the majority of the possession for the rest of the period as the Blackstars were more than happy to sit back and burst forward once they recovered the ball. The last chance fell to Manucho who should have done better given his position but his strike went over the crossbar with the goal mouth begging.

Thus, the first half came to a close with Ghana holding onto their lead in front of the 50,000 worried looking home fans at the Estádio 11 de Novembro.

After the break, the early going in the second half lacked rhythm as Angola’s urgency was translating into inaccurate passing on their part. The situation prompted Jose to make his first change of the match as he brought on an offensive midfielder, Job, for Stelvio in search of more attacking fluency.

On the other hand Milovan Rajevac suffered a setback when he was forced to bring off his injured goalscorer, Gyan, in favor of Amoah. The change didn’t affect his side tactically though as they continued to wait deep in their half for sterile looking Angola that was struggling to find solutions.

In fact, the West Africans could have doubled their lead against the run of play in the 65th when Draman worked his way into good position after a well executed chest control but his shot didn’t trouble Carlos Fernandes.

Manucho could have answered the prayers of all Angolans in the 72nd but he once again wasted an open header after good service from Mabina. With the final fifteen minutes looking ominous, Jose went for broke by taking out Gilberto and bringing on an extra attacker in Zekalanga.

Nevertheless, it was still Ghana that looked more dangerous with their sporadic yet incisive efforts versus an increasingly nervous looking Angolan side that was having trouble coping with the rising levels of anxiety. The prospect of a precocious exit from their continental showpiece was clearly affecting their play.

The Palancas Negras would continue to search in vain as five minutes of injury time were not enough for them to find the much desired equalizer due to their inability to convert their chances against a well organized Ghanaian outfit that did everything it had to hold onto its deserved victory.