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CAN 2023: overview of the knockout phase

CAN 2023: overview of the knockout phase
Ghanaian striker Antoine Semenyo   -  
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Antoine Semenyo scored the winning goal six minutes into added time as Ghana beat Angola 1-0 in the African Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023) qualifiers on Thursday and stayed in head of his group.

Ghana remains undefeated in the final qualifying phase with two wins and a draw and is on course to qualify for AFCON 2023 in Ivory Coast.

The result obtained at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi allows Chris Hughton to begin his coaching career with success. The former Newcastle and Brighton manager was a technical adviser to the Ghanaian side before taking over from Otto Addo in charge of the team last month.

Semenyo struck at the very end of the game against Angola sending a loose ball into the net after a Ghanaian free kick was not cleared. Halfway through the qualifiers, Ghana leads the Central African Republic by three points at the top of Group E.

South Sudan also had to wait until the end of the match to get rid of the Republic of Congo. The South Sudanese led 1-0 when Peter Maker was sent off, before conceding the equalizer from a Thievy Bifouma penalty in the 90th minute. South Sudan eventually won 2–1 thanks to a goal from Tito Okello, also in the 6th minute of added time.

The victory revived South Sudan's hopes of finishing in the top two of their group and qualifying for their first major tournament as the country sits 165th out of FIFA's 211 teams, just behind Vanuatu.

Zambia for their part came back from a 1-0 deficit to beat Lesotho 3-1 and avoid an upset. Gabon remains in contention in Group I after beating Sudan 1-0.

The last round of the qualifiers started on Wednesday with two draws. Sierra Leone and Sao Tome and Principe went 2–2 apart and striker Steve Mounie equalized late for Benin in a 1–1 draw with Rwanda, which saw them sent off by Hakim Sahabo with 30 minutes remaining.

Senegal continues their qualifying campaign against Mozambique on Friday, while Sadio Mané is expected to return to the national team after missing the World Cup in Qatar through injury.

Morocco, a World Cup semi-finalist and a new star of African football will not play in the qualifiers again until June after their two matches against Zimbabwe have been cancelled as the country is suspended from international competitions by FIFA due to problems with his national federation.