Ghana strike late to seal passage to Nations Cup last 8

Ghana
Ghana's Andre Ayew, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during their African Cup of Nations Group C soccer match in Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015 (Photo: AP)
Reuters
Tuesday 27 Jan 2015
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Andre Ayew led a storming comeback for Ghana as they catapulted into the African Nations Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 over South Africa at Estadio Mongomo on Tuesday.

Ayew headed home an 83rd minute winner as Ghana came from behind to take top place in Group C after a second successive win. They advance with Algeria as Senegal and bottom-placed South Africa head home.

Ghana had been trailing at halftime but a double switch in the final 20 minutes by coach Avram Grant provided the spur for two goals that turned their tournament around in a passionate display.

"We deserve it, we showed great character and fighting spirit," Grant said.

Ghana totally dominated the second half over their shell-shocked opponents but took until the 73rd minute to equalise.

John Boye's shot from close range levelled the score after Mandla Masango had superbly netted after 17 minutes to give South Africa the lead.

Ayew then applied the winner, jumping first to a perfect cross from Christian Atsu to power home a header and set off dramatic celebrations.

Ghana, who had to win to stand any chance of progressing, were in deep peril after Masango scored arguably the goal of the tournament with a volley from a standing position on the edge of the area. He hit a clearance from Ghana's centre back Jonathan Mensah on the full, looping it over the goalkeeper.

But Ghana took full command after the break and put South Africa under siege.

Grant brought on Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Kwesi Appiah, the Cambridge United player making his debut, and shortly after got the equaliser.

Asamoah Gyan won a header, Ayew miscued a shot but defender Boye was unmarked to pick up the loose ball and blast home.

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