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2019 AFCON: Black Stars knocked out on penalties by Tunisia



2019 AFCON: Black Stars knocked out on penalties by Tunisia

The Black Stars have been knocked out of the 2019 African Cup of Nations by Tunisia after a dramatic shootout which saw Caleb Ekuban’s penalty saved.

The match was decided on spot-kicks after it finished 1-1 after extra-time.

Tunisia took the lead after Taha Khenissi’s shot went in off the post but the Black Stars levelled in stoppage time as Rami Bedoui headed into his own net to force the match into extra time.

With neither side able to find a winner in the 30 minutes, the match went to penalties with Caleb Ekuban’s miss proving costly for the Black Stars.

Tunisia will now move on to face Madagascar in the quarlerfinals.

An impressive first 20 minutes saw the Black Stars pin Tunisia in their own half and create a number of goal scoring opportunities.

Kasim Nuhu Adams came closes for the Stars early on as his header from a corner hit the upright.

Andre Ayew’s follow-up was blocked but the referee had already whistled for a foul.

The Black Stars were in control at this stage with Thomas Partey, playing in a more advanced position central to their play.

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Afriyie-Acquah, starting for the first time at the AFCON let fly from 30 yards but his effort was tipped around the post by the Tunisian keeper.

The Tunisians’ first forays forward caused some discomfort for the Stars players but some impressive defending from Andy Yiadom, Kasim Nuhu and Thomas Partey prevented the Tunisians from taking the lead.

Down the other end, Thomas Partey was proving to be a nuisance as he latched on to Afriyie Acquah’s ball forward and fired over.

The Black Stars then thought they had broken through when Andre Ayew cleverly backheeled Jordan Ayew’s cross into the net but the referee ruled that the ball had come off the arm of Partey in the build-up.

The referee waved away protests from Ayew and Partey as the teams went into the break level.

The Black Stars started the second period strongly as well but it was the Tunisians who created the clear-cut opportunities.

Wahib Khazri, on as a second-half sub, run free down the right-hand side, his cutback found Taha Khenissi but his shot was blocked by Kasim Nuhu.

Tunisia were definitely getting closer and almost scored again as Ellyes Skhiri headed against the crossbar.

The North Africans found their goal eventually as Khazri’s deft touch found Wajdi Kechrida on the right. His pull-back was slammed in off the post by Khenissi.

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The goal sparked wild celebrations in the Tunisian end of the stadium as the Ghanaian players and fans put their heads in their hands in despair.

Kwesi Appiah brought on Caleb Ekuban and Asamoah Gyan for Afriyie Acquah and Andre Ayew as the Black Stars searched for an equaliser but it was Mubarak Wakaso who came close for the Black Stars as his long-range strike was tipped onto the post by the Tunisian keeper.

With the Black Stars seemingly heading out of the AFCON a freekick delivered into the box by Wakaso was headed past his own keeper by Rami Bedoui to take the game into extra time.

The Black Stars were quickest out of the blocks for extra time as Andy Yiadom forced Tunisian keeper Mouez Hassen into a decent save.

He then made a much more comfortable save diving to his right to grab a weak head from Asamoah Gyan.

The Black Stars were threatening but the Tunisian’s almost took the lead from Wahbi Khazri’s effort but Richard Ofori did well to tip it over.

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Jordan Ayew could have won it in the second half of extra time for Ghana but his shot after Asamoah Gyan’s flick on flew just wide.

Substitute Kwabena Owusu was then set up by Jordan but his shot at the end of extra time but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper with the game heading into the penalty shoot-out.

Wakaso took Ghana’s first penalty, just about beating Tunisia’s substitute keeper Mustapha.

After Tunisia had scored their first, Jordan Ayew stepped up and found the back of the net with ease.

Khazri took Tunisia’s next spot-kick slotting home before Caleb Ekuban’s penalty was saved by Mustapha.

Dylan Bronn fired home Tunisia’s next kick firing into the top corner but Lumor Agyenyenu responded by sending the keeper the wrong way.

Yassine Meriah then scored to make it 4-3.

Needing to score to keep Ghana in the competition, Thomas Partey found the top corner with his kick.

However Tunisia went through and broke Ghanaian hearts as Sassi converted his side’s final penalty.



Wafu Cup: We want to make Ghanaians happy by scoring Senegal in the final – Maxwell Konadu



Wafu Cup: We want to make Ghanaians happy by scoring Senegal in the final – Maxwell Konadu

The Black Stars boss looks ahead to the tournament’s climax against the hosts.

Ghana coach Maxwell Konadu has set his sights on beating Senegal in the final of the Wafu Cup of Nations to re-affirm their status as the West African powerhouse on Sunday.

The most successful team in the history of the tournament with two titles, the home-based Black Stars are set for a showdown with the hosts at Stade Lat-Dior in Thies.

Ghana’s run to the final has come as a surprise to many considering the side’s pre-tournament preparation challenges and a 1-0 home loss to Burkina Faso in a 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan) qualifier two weeks to kick-off.

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“We have to thank the Ghanaian public for giving us their support,” Konadu said in a Facebook video.

“We started this campaign two weeks ago and in our run-up to the competition, we lost to Burkina Faso which wasn’t the best for our image but we did our best to rally the boys back, to motivate them and lift their spirit high.

“I think the loss [to Burkina Faso], although painful, told us a lot, that we needed to come here and fight it out.

“Yes we have made history but that is behind us now. We just want to go for the cup and make sure we make Ghanaians happy. We have to stay focused.

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“That is what we want to do. Yes, if we win it, we will make history.”

Ghana are defending champions of the tournament, the last triumph coming under Konadu when they hosted the competition two years ago.

The Black Stars had beaten Cote d’Ivoire 3-1 in the semi-final to make Sunday’s final.

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals as Portugal beat Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying



Cristiano Ronaldo scored four goals as Portugal beat Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying

The Juventus forward has now scored 93 international goals, 16 behind Iran legend Ali Daei’s world record.

He scored an early penalty, before Vytautas Andriuskevicius equalised.

Ronaldo’s 20-yard shot went in off the head of Lithuania goalkeeper Ernestas Setkus and he scored two more from Bernardo Silva passes, before William Carvalho’s injury-time fifth.

The result keeps Portugal in an automatic qualifying place, five points behind Group B leaders Ukraine.

It was an eighth international hat-trick for 34-year-old Ronaldo, who also scored four against Andorra in 2016.

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Serbia moved up into third place in the group with a 3-1 win at Luxembourg, with Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring twice.


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Kenya cannot stand in our way – Black Queens Coach



Kenya cannot stand in our way - Black Queens Coach

Madam Mercy Tagoe-Quarcoo Head Coach of the female national football team, the Black Queens has said Kenya, will not be a stumbling block to their quest of qualifying to the next round of matches for the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers.

Madam Tagoe made this known in an interview in Accra after the Queens did a double over their Gabonese counterparts 5-0 in aggregate over the two legs played.

According to her, though she is building a formidable team for the future, their aim of qualifying to the next Olympic Games still remained a priority and Kenya would not stand in their way.

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“Kenya would not be a difficult game for us, we have played them in their backyard before and it ended in a draw.

“I believe with the crop of players I have put together coupled with a little more of camping time and the right blend, we would gel and Ghanaians would see good results.

“We have a target of qualifying to the Tokyo 2020 Games and we are determined to take each game at a time, so Kenya wound not stand in our way, they are women like us and we would see to them,” she said.

The coach said the team was well determined and focused and there is nothing like pressure to distract them.

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A goal each from Queens captain Portia Boakye and Juliet Acheampong in the 16th and 75th minute helped Ghana to beat Gabon by 2:0 in Accra, after beating them 3:0 in the first leg in Libreville to book a date with Kenya in the next qualifying match.


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