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29 Jan 2008 08:27
Hosts Ghana beat Morocco 2-0 to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals on Monday as the tournament claimed its first coaching victim with Henryk Kasperczak quitting Senegal.
Guinea also went into the last eight, following Ghana through from Group A despite managing only a 1-1 draw against rank outsiders Namibia.
Midfielder Michael Essien scored a goal and set up another as Ghana finished their group with maximum points from three games.
Ghana, who will stay in Accra for their quarterfinal on Sunday, will face the Group B runners-up—most likely Mali, although it could be arch-rivals Nigeria.
In front of a packed crowd in Accra, Sulley Muntari set up Essien for the opening goal in the 26th minute with a quickly taken free kick that found the midfielder in enough space to score from close range.
The favour was returned when Essien ran at the Morocco defence in the 45th minute and slipped a pass for Muntari to net his second of the tournament.
“We decided before [the match] we were going to attack and attack. We decided to make more room for Essien to take charge and to come forward,” Ghana coach Claude Le Roy said.
Morocco coach Henri Michel, who led Cote d’Ivôire to the final of the last Nations Cup in Egypt in 2006, said: “We now have to look ahead and build a new squad.”
The North Africans fell at the first hurdle for the second successive Nations Cup.
Guinea finished with four points, one ahead of Morocco, despite being held by Namibia, who took home their only point.
Robert Nouzaret’s side opened the scoring through Souleymane Youla on 62 minutes, only for Namibia to equalise 11 minutes from time courtesy of Brian Brendell’s second goal of the tournament.
The only cheers in an almost empty stadium came from the volunteers and policemen celebrating Ghana’s goals in Accra.
Guinea were without captain Pascal Feindouno, who was handed a two-match ban for violent conduct during their 3-2 victory against Morocco on Thursday.
In Tamale, Kasperczak, coaching at his fifth Nations Cup, resigned the day after his team’s shock 3-1 loss to Angola.
The former Poland defender quit with one match to play in Group D and with his team still holding a mathematical chance of progressing.
“I’m the only one responsible for the results,” he said.
Senegal have one point from two games and face South Africa on Thursday with assistant Lamine Ndaye taking charge.—Reuters
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