MONGOMO, Equatorial Guinea (AFP) – Just days after being taken to hospital with malaria, Asamoah Gyan lit up the Africa Cup of Nations on Friday with a late winning goal as Ghana beat Algeria 1-0.
Ghana’s win and the 1-1 draw between Senegal and South Africa later in the day in Mongomo leave the two qualifying spots in Group C still up for grabs ahead of the final round of matches next Tuesday, although Bafana Bafana appear very much up against it.
Gyan is Ghana’s captain and talisman and he was missed in Monday’s last-gasp loss to the Senegalese, with coach Avram Grant judging the striker unfit to play having been hospitalised last weekend after contracting a mild bout of malaria.
The 29-year-old came straight back into the line-up on Friday and Grant decided to keep him on the pitch despite him visibly tiring towards the end.
A scrappy match of few chances on a poor surface was set to end goalless until, in the second minute of injury time, Gyan latched onto a hopeful long ball downfield and outpaced Carl Medjani before firing across goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi and into the net from a tight angle.
It was his seventh Cup of Nations goal, allowing him to equal the record mark set by Osei Kofi, a veteran of the Black Stars side that won the continental title in 1965.