Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations campaign came to a humiliating end after they were beaten 3-2 by debutants Comoros Islands to finish bottom of Group C with a single point.
El Fardou Ben Mohamed scored Comoros’ first goal at the finals before Ahmed Mogni added a second just past the hour-mark. Goals from Richmond Boakye and Alexander Djiku levelled the game up for Ghana, but Mogni grabbed a winner for the tiny island nation with five minutes remaining.
It is the first time Ghana have failed to win at least one group stage match having made 22 past visits to the finals, their cause not helped in Garoua by playing for 65 minutes with 10 men after a harsh red card for their lead striker André Ayew.
Morocco topped Group C with seven points, followed by Gabon on five, who also advance to the second round after the two sides drew 2-2. Comoros have an outside chance of being among the best third-placed finishers, though their minus-two goal-difference will probably count against them
Already eliminated Zimbabwe upset Guinea with a 2-1 win n Yaounde, although Guinea will still advance to the last 16 as runners-up in Group B.
Guinea’s captain, the Liverpool midfielder Naby Keïta, will miss the knockout tie after he was shown a second yellow card of the group stage by Salima Mukansanga, the first woman to officiate a game at the tournament.
The Zimbabwe captain, Knowledge Musona, and Kudakwashe Mahachiscored in the first half to earn their side a farewell win after losing their opening two matches as they finished last in the group. Keïta pulled a goal back for Guinea early in the second half with an excellent strike from the edge of the area, but they could not find an equaliser as a makeshift Zimbabwe side held firm to snap a 14-match winless run stretching back to last March.
Senegal finished top of the group after a goalless draw against Malawi in Bafoussam. Malawi were level with Guinea on four points but Guinea finished second based on their head-to-head result.
Keïta now misses Guinea’s last-16 match in Bafoussam on 24 January against the runner-up in Group F, whose identity will be decided on Thursday.
Rwandan Mukansanga grew increasingly weary of Keïta’s persistent complaints about Zimbabwean time wasting and booked him in the last minute.
Zimbabwe were already out of contention and were the first team to be eliminated after they lost to Malawi on Thursday.
“We go home with some pride and that is what is important for us,” said the Zimbabwe coach, Norman Mapeza.