Ghana’s Andre Ayew scored a first-half penalty to secure for the Black Stars a 1-0 victory over Uganda in the opening Group D match at the African Nations Cup in Port Gentil’s new stadium on Tuesday.
The four-time African champions now lead the group after Egypt were held goalless by Mali in the second match.
The Ghanaians had to fight off a gutsy Uganda in the second half as the East Africans marked their return to the tournament after a 39-year absence with an impressive performance.
The penalty came after a moment of madness from Uganda-centre-back Isaac Isinde, who took his eye off the ball as he received a pass in his own penalty-area and lost possession to Asamoah Gyan, who he then tugged-back to concede the spotkick.
West Ham United’s Ayew tucked away the penalty to open the scoring in the 32nd minute and give Ghana a deserved lead after they had dominated the opening half.
Ghana regularly robbed Uganda of possession and attacked down the flanks, with Christian Atsu and Jordan Ayew providing regular service for Andre Ayew and Gyan.
Gyan, however, miscued two good headed chances and Andre Ayew had a shot on target saved by Uganda’s Denis Onyango.
Atsu was also denied by Onyango, who was voted the best African-based player of 2016 earlier this month.
Uganda threw on attacking substitutes after the break and took the game to their more fancied opponents, who were runners-up at the last finals two years ago.
Uganda dominated the midfield and constantly probed without being able to break through, but left a good impression and will hope to test both Egypt and Mali in their next two matches.