Muntari magic starts host's party

Ghana enjoy the perfect start to the Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-1 win.

    Asamoah Gyan of Ghana, right, and Oumar Kalabane of Guinea tussle for possession [Reuters]

    While Kalabane went from villain to hero when he scored off a corner from Ismael Bangoura to silence the passionate home crowd, even for a moment.

    In a scoreless first half Ghana hit the post three times, and looked to be free of the weight of expectation in their positive approach.

    Agogo was the first to hit the woodwork with a header in the 20th minute, with the ball then going across the face of the goal before rolling out of danger.

    Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien then had his turn with another header in the 28th, while Muntari sent a warning shot as his 40th minute rattled against the post.

    Bangoura had Guinea's best chances in the first half, but twice he wasted chances by sending shots well off target.

    In voice

    Football fever grips Ghana

    Carnival atmosphere

    There was a carnival atmosphere in the streets leading up to the Ohene Djan stadium as flag-waving fans danced to the nonstop sound of whistles.

    Some locals painted their whole bodies in the red, yellow and green colours of the national flag, while others walked on giant stilts or wore weird and colourful face masks, all accompanied by the incessant drum rhythm of local bands.

    Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor, CAF president Issa Hayatou, Fifa chief Sepp Blatter and Uefa president Michel Platini were among about 40,000 fans watching the opening ceremony, which featured hundreds of dancers and acrobats.

    The stadium erupted with noise as Ghana's players came out to warm up, but it was nothing compared to the noise after the final whistle in which the fans celebrated the victory as though it had secured the side a fifth Africa Nations Cup crown.

    On Monday, Morocco will face Namibia in the other group match.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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