John Mensah scored the only goal of the match as Ghana started their 2012 Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-0 win over Botswana in Franceville last night.
Mensah would turn from hero to villain in the 66th minute when he received his marching orders for a professional foul, leaving Ghana to play the last quarter of the match with ten men.
The Black Stars controlled possession from the beginning but their first attempt at goal came from a setpiece in the fourth minute; Sulley Muntari’s in-swinging free kick found Asamoah Gyan at the far post but his header was well off target.
Ghana were able to find the opening goal in the 25th minute from a dead ball situation when an in-swinging corner missed Gyan’s head at the near post but the ball fell kindly for the unmarked Mensah to bundle it in with his knee.
It was not a convincing victory for Ghana in terms of the scoreline and they will have to improve to turn their possession into goals in future matches.
The younger of the Ayew brothers, Jonathan, had a quiet first half but he did initiate a quick give-and-go which saw him trying to place a curled shot at the top right corner, but goalkeeper Modiri Marumo spotted the danger and plucked the ball in the air.