A lively start to Ghana’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign ends in a 2-2 draw against Benin, with Royals defender Andy Yiadom earning a sixth start for his nation in Ismailia.
Ghana find themselves a real presence in the tournament this year, arriving in Egypt as one of the favourites for the title having made at least the last four in each of the past six tournaments.
Despite this, Benin are looking to go beyond their previous best finish and make it to the knockout stages, having not achieved qualification for the finals since 2010.
Veteran forward Mickael Pote, who scored 16 goals in 33 appearances for his club last season, got the beating of the two central Ghana defenders before prodding home inside the opening two minutes to give Benin the lead.
Kwesi Appiah’s side responded almost immediately however, with Andre Ayew’s deflected shot finding the bottom right corner only minutes later.
As the first half drew to a close, Kasim Adams charged forwards from defence and slotted the ball through to Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew, who didn’t hesitate in capitalising on a mistake from Oliver Verdun, firing home to give the Black Stars the advantage heading into the break.
A second yellow for John Boye reduced Ghana to 10 men early on after the restart, and Benin soon made their numerical advantage count.
Pote instinctively turned home from a quickly worked short corner, scoring his second of the game just past the hour mark, leaving Benin to see out the final 30 minutes of the game and secure only their second ever point in the tournament.
Atletico Madrid midfielder, Thomas Partey had the chance to give Ghana the win in their opening Group F encounter, but Fabien Farnolle produced a fine save at full reach to ensure the Squirrels a share of the points in Ismailia.
Four-time winners Ghana return to action when they face defending Champions Cameroon on Saturday evening (6pm BST), before travelling to the Suez Stadium to play Guinea-Bissau in their final Group F game on 2nd July (5pm BST).
We will continue to follow Andy throughout Ghana’s progress in this year’s competition, and we wish him luck in their next encounter with Cameroon on Saturday.