Second half strikes from Jordan Ayew and Thomas Partey handed Ghana a 2-0 win over Guinea Bissau in their Group F Day Three match on Tuesday in Suez and a place at the knockout stage of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019.
The win, Ghana's first at the campaign, saw them finish top of the group after Cameroon and Benin played out a barren draw in the other simultaneous kick-off in Ismailia. Holders Cameroon, who finish second also on five points as Ghana join the latter at the round of 16. Benin are third on three points and remain in the hunt for one of the four best third place teams set for a place at the knockout stage.
The first half was characterized by few chances from either side as both sides deployed a cautious approach. Both needed to win to be certain of a place at the next round but failed to break the deadlock in the first half.
Back from recess, Ghana broke the deadlock just a minute into the second half courtesy Ayew, with a curling shot that left Guinea Bissau goalie Jonas Mendes with no option.
The opener saw the Black Stars took control of the game dictating the pace as Djurtus as the Guineans are nicknamed laboured in search of their feet.
Three minutes past the hour mark, Ghana goalie Richard Ofori was to his side's rescue with a superb save to deny Guinea Bissau captain Muhammad Cande, who unleashed a curler from a free-kick at the edge of the penalty area.
But the Black Stars responded in style eight minutes later when a three-man move involving Andre Ayew, Baba Abdul Rahman and Partey gave birth to the second goal. Ayew found Baba on the left, who cut in and Partey tapped home from close range to put them on the path of victory.
The younger Ayew nearly capped his day with the second but his effort hit the upright on 78 minutes despite Mendes beaten.
Ghana held on to victory to maintain their enviable record of going past the group stage at every edition since 2008.
Total Man of the Match: Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana)
What they said
Mubarak Wakaso (Total Man of the match)
I congratulate my teammates for the work we did together; this trophy is theirs too. This is our first victory in this AFCON and we are happy. Now, it's a matter of continuing the work to be more solid for the rest of this competition and achieve our goal.
James Kwesi Appiah (Coach, Ghana)
I congratulate my players for achieving such a result. We started the game on a slow pace because we had to be patient without rushing. It should also be noted that we adapt our game system according to the qualities and shortcomings of the opponent. If we are to take criticism into account, we will stop playing football. We are working to improve and I am doing my best to win the matches.
Baciro Candé (Coach, Guinea-Bissau)
We played well in the first half and we were close to scoring. We had a special plan to win and the first half ended barren. In the second half we continued with the same strategy but made mistakes. And everything changed in one minute with Ghana's first goal. I congratulate Ghana coach for delivering a good match.