AFCON: Senegal finish top of group, Ghana out

Ghana's forward Andre Ayew (L) collides with Comoros' goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina (down, R) leading to a foul and a red card for Ayew during the Group C Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Ghana and Comoros at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 18, 2022.

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Four-time champions Ghana have been eliminated in the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations with a 3-2 loss to tournament debutants Comoros, in a shocker that outweighed a string of surprises in Cameroon.

Ghana fell behind in the fourth minute, had captain Andre Ayew sent off in the 25th and were 2-0 down in the 61st.

The Ghanaians levelled with two goals in 13 minutes late in the game, only to concede again when Ahmed Mogni swept in his second goal in the 85th minute to give Comoros the greatest victory in their history.

Ghana -- who were last crowned champions in 1982 -- had made at least the semi-finals in six of the past seven African Cups and were last dumped out in the group stage in 2006.

They finished bottom of Group C with just one point.

Morocco won the group after a 2-2 draw with Gabon while Comoros have a chance to advance to the last 16 as one of the best third-place teams in their first major tournament.

Earlier on Tuesday, Senegal qualified atop Group B but only after a 0-0 draw with Malawi.

Zimbabwe, who had already been eliminated, provided yet another surprise by upsetting Guinea 2-1 in the groups other game.

Despite the loss, Guinea advanced behind group winners Senegal as those two teams took the automatic qualifying places but not in the manner expected.

They will, though, be without Liverpool's Naby Keita in the round of 16. Having scored a superb goal to halve the deficit the Guinea captain was booked late on for dissent.

Senegal won just one of their three group games -- their opener against Zimbabwe and only when Sadio Mane buried a 97th-minute penalty.

That was Senegal's only goal of the group stage.

Africa's top-ranked team also drew 0-0 with Guinea.

They might have even lost to Malawi when the underdogs were awarded a late penalty -- when Bouna Sarr was whistled for pulling back Gomezgani Chirwa on the edge of the area.

However, the referre with the aid of the VAR changed his mind and cancelled the penalty when it seemed Sarr had indeed impeded Chirwa.

Malawi still have a good chance of progressing to the knockout stage for the first time as one of the four best third-place teams.

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