Stars through to semis

Ghana's Jordan Ayew leads his team's celebrations against DR Congo

Ghana’s Jordan Ayew leads his team’s celebrations against DR Congo

Ghana’s Ayew brothers grabbed a goal each to beat DR Congo 2-1 and put the Black Stars through to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals.

Aston Villa’s Jordan Ayew opened the scoring on 62 minutes, curled the ball past Ley Matampi in the Leopards goal.

Paul-Jose M’Poku equalised for DR Congo with a sensational long-range effort from outside the box.

West Ham’s Andre Ayew then coolly dispatched a winning penalty, sending Matampi the wrong way to seal the win.

It marked Ghana’s sixth consecutive Nations Cup semi-finals appearance, as they seek to end an agonising 35-year wait for a continental title.

In a game that only properly sparked to life in the second half in Oyem, DR Congo – and their captain Deumerci Mbokani in particular – were left to rue several missed chances early on.

The Hull City striker’s best opportunity came on six minutes, after a terrible mix-up in the Ghana defence, but he hit the post when he had the goal at his mercy.

Mbokani then teed up the competition’s top scorer Junior Kabananga on 25 minutes, who blazed high over the bar.

The Congolese talisman again broke through the Ghana defence, only to slice his chance into the side netting.

Ghana showed a lot more intent in the second half, with Wakaso whipping a free-kick at Matampi, who elected to save with his feet.

Jordan Ayew – the younger of the two brothers – scored his first of the tournament, surging into the box and striking the ball home confidently and decisively.

The lead lasted just five minutes, with M’Poku unleashing a breath-taking long range shot with the outside of the boot that arrowed into the top corner.

Ghana continued to press and were awarded a penalty when Christian Atsu went down in the box after contact from Lomalisa Mutambala, who was lucky not to see red after an earlier booking.

Andre Ayew then coolly dispatched the spot-kick, sending Matampi the wrong way, to grab his second of the competition.

Leopards substitute Cedric Bakambu spurned several good chances to equalise in the final minutes, forcing a good save from Razak and finding space in the box at the death before shooting badly wide from close range.

Atsu could have put the icing on it for Ghana in injury time, but the busy Matampi produced a great save at his feet.

The Black Stars’ celebrations at the end showed Avram Grant’s side’s relief at edging the contest.-BBC

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