Ghana will be in action again in the ongoing U-23 Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday, June 27, when they face host nation Morocco.
Both teams were winners in their opening games of the tournament over the weekend with Morocco coming from behind to beat Congo with a 2-1 scoreline.
Skipper Abdessamad Ezzalzouli converted two second-half penalties to turn the tie around on Saturday to give the host their first three points.
The Black Meteors, on the other hand, survived a late meltdown against Congo to ensure they move to the top of Group A with a 3-2 victory.
Ibrahim Tanko’s side scored three second-half goals after a goalless opening 45 minutes. Emmanuel Yeboah scored twice after setting up Ernest Nuamah for the game’s opener as Ghana looked to be making light work of their counterparts.
However, a loss of concentration in the latter stages of the game saw Ghana concede twice; one from a set piece and the other from a poor defensive play. This left Tanko furious and he did not hide it despite his team ending the game with the needed win.
“I am extremely angry with my players. How could we let the match slip away like this?” he quizzed in his post-match presser.
“We will remind them of the objectives we need to achieve and the importance of our presence here.”
Of course, tensions do rise in such moments and the gaffer said it was normal to have gone through that as he believes his side will be well ready for the second group game.
“I think after each game, you come out with your feelings and I told the boys my feelings [after the game against Congo] and everything is good now,” he told the media ahead of Tuesday’s encounter.
“We have to prepare for the next game and we have everything on course so we are cool now and ready for the game [against Morocco].”
Morocco may have won their game also but there were signs of weaknesses in the team and their head coach, Issame Charai, is aware they could get punished if they play against Ghana the same way they did against Guinea.
He also noted that there is also a ‘vulnerability’ in Ghana’s game despite being impressive.
“We analyzed Ghana’s match against Congo. They possess a formidable offensive threat and display remarkable speed. However, we also identified areas of vulnerability within their team,” Charai said during the presser ahead of the game.
“We must remain focused, start the game strongly, and bear in mind that we are playing on home soil. Disappointing our nation is not an option,” he emphasised.
Early top scorer battle
Ezzalzouli scored a brace on the opening day of the competition on Saturday but that was matched perfectly a day later by a player he faces on Tuesday – Emmanuel Yeboah.
What makes Yeboah’s even more likeable is the fact that the CFR Cluj make came off the bench, replacing Ghana’s captain, Daniel Afriyie Barnieh and his first major involvement was setting up Ernest Nuamah for the game’s first goal.
It will be interesting to see the role Yeboah plays next after his impressive cameo off the bench Tanko has the decision to make whether or not to reinstate his captain or let the two-goal hero continue his impressive run.
Prior to the start of the tournament, Yeboah scored a hat-trick in Ghana’s last friendly against Egyptian side Zamalek SC, and his confidence is oozing more after the brace on Sunday.
Both Ezzalzouli and Yeboah are on two goals each and the fixture between Morocco and Ghana could see any of them leap into the lead.
Ghana currently occupies the top spot in Group A, which also had Guinea and Congo, due to their goals advantage and know that a win over Morocco could guarantee a spot in the semi-final stage of the competition.
The game is scheduled for an 8 PM kickoff at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium.