Ghana, Angola held to open race in Group E

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The race for the top spot in Group E of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers was blown wide open on Sunday when group leaders Ghana and Angola were held.

Angola came from behind to earn a point against Madagascar to maintain their unbeaten start, while Central African Republic rallied to hold the Black Stars to a 1-1 on Sunday.

The Palancas Negras kept their momentum intact after drawing 1-1 at the Stade Municipal Mahamasina in Antananarivo to go level on points with Ghana at the top of group.

The first-half was virtually balanced as both teams took an equal share of the ball possession and created few decent opportunities.

Madagascar went ahead in the game in the 36th minute following a goal by Njiva Rakotoharimalala but the lead was cancelled moments later through Gelson Dala.

The Palancas Negras were the better team in the second half, having seen more of the ball but failed to put the ball past goalkeeper Nina Razakanirina.

Razakanirina made six important saves to keep the match at 1-1 in the end as the Barea picked their first point in the qualifications.

Meanwhile, Central African Republic punched above their weight to claim a point against Ghana after holding them to a 1-1 stalemate in the 2023 AFCON Qualifier.

The Wild Beasts equalised before halftime after conceding the first goal after 17th minutes into the match at the Estadio 11 de Novembro in Luanda, Angola.

The Black Stars drew the first blood of the match in the 17th minute with a beautiful goal from Mohammed Kudus whose curled shot from the edge of the box beat goalkeeper Aladun Kalimba.

Central Africa levelled matters four minutes from recess after Karl Namnganda got the equalising with a powerful left shot after being played through by Brad Thomas Pirioua.

The second half of the encounter produced no goals as both teams failed to register a single shot on target.

Ghana continue to lead Group E on goals difference as they are level on four points with Angola on four points while Central Africa and Madagascar have one point apiece.

Angola faces Ghana in a double-header in matchday three and four in September while Madagascar will have to tackle Central African Republic. (NAN)

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