Ghana and Congo, two former winners of the Africa Cup of Nations, played out an entertaining 2-2 draw this afternoon as they both kicked off their tournaments.
The Black Stars survived some early pressure to take a two-goal lead through Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Kwadwo Asamoah but, having rode their luck for large parts, were deservedly pegged back by Tresor Mputu and Dieumerci Mbokani`s penalty.
It was a result that in the end reflected what both sides had put in, although Ghana will be left to rue their failure to hold what they had, especially having survived a rocky opening.
Lomana Tresor LuaLua found space inside their box with 12 minutes on the clock and fired in a shot that Fatau Dauda somehow touched onto the bar, before Mputu wildly hit over when he had a free shot at the target.
Ghana came back well, though, and after Asamoah had drilled over, Asamoah Gyan wasted a glorious chance to open the scoring when he broke clean through, only to stall and slide a shot wide.
His miss was forgotten in the 40th minute, however, as Ageymang-Badu opened the scoring when he bundled in Asamoah`s cross from close range, with some neat interplay between the Juventus man and Gyan having teed things up.
One became two four minutes after the break when Asamoah got the goal his showing had deserved, taking advantage of some slack marking to head in Mubarak Wakaso`s cross at the back post.
It was important for Congo to respond quickly if they were to salvage anything and that was what they did, scoring just four minutes later.
Cedric Makiadi slid a pass through for Mputu and he nonchalantly flicked past the advancing Dauda with the outside of his boot.
Not content with one, Congo piled forward and were level in the 69th minute, with Mobokani casually stroking his spot-kick into the top right-hand corner after Jerry Akaminko had brought him down.
Congo looked the better side after the goal too, but both were forced to settle for a point, with Dadau`s sace from Youssouf Mulumbu the last notable action.