Stade de Franceville, Gabon

Referee: Badara Diatta | Attendance: 5000

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  • John Mensah 25'

1 - 0


Ghana 1-0 Botswana: Mensah hero and villain

John Mensah scored then saw red as 10-man Ghana held on to beat Botswana in their African Nations Cup opener.

The Lyon defender scored the only goal with his knee after 25 minutes in Franceville, then earned a straight red midway through the second half for a professional foul.

It means Mensah will miss their next Group D match against Mali, but he had already made the telling contribution of a poor game against lowly Botswana.

Neither side had created much when Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu's corner was flicked on at the near post by Asamoah Gyan and Mensah was on hand to provide an inelegant but effective final touch.

Moments later, Badu surged into the Botswana box, but his shot was straight at goalkeeper Modiri Marumo.

Gyan then fired over the bar from a tight angle before an uninspiring first period was brought to an end.

Botswana's best opportunity came seven minutes into the second half when John Boye acrobatically cleared Moemedi Moatlhaping's header. It may have been sliding wide but Jerome Ramathlakwane was ready to pounce had Boye not intervened.

Botswana were handed a lifeline when Mensah was sent off for a professional foul after 67 minutes.

From a clearance out of the Botswana defence, Ghana midfielder Anthony Annan headed the ball on towards his own goal, inadvertently putting Ramathlakwane through on goal.

Mensah tangled with the striker just outside the box and was shown the red card, but Ramathlakwane sent the free-kick straight into the wall.

But Botswana struggled to do much with their man advantage, a dangerous cross from Phenyo Mongala which was punched clear by Adam Larsen the closest they came to causing Ghana serious discomfort.