Mixed day for Mensah
Ghana edged minnows Botswana 1-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations Group D opener, as captain John Mensah scored and was sent off.
Last Updated: 24/01/12 6:46pm
Ten-man Ghana edged minnows Botswana 1-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations Group D opener at Stade de Franceville, as captain John Mensah scored and was sent off.
Mensah netted the decider in the first half, but was dismissed just past the hour mark for bringing down Jerome Ramatlhokwane, with the striker through on goal.
In a game of few chances, Ghana dominated possession, but struggled to break down their committed opponents, who were making their debut at the tournament.
Asamoah Gyan and Patrick Motsepe threatened on occasions before Mensah turned home Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu's corner from close range in the 25th minute.
Gyan and Inter Milan ace Sulley Muntari showed intent in the closing stages of the half, but the scoreline remained unchanged at the break.
Botswana nearly equalised against the run of play after the restart, with John Boye making an acrobatic goal-line clearance to deny a Motsepe header at the far post.
Ghana, four-time continental champions, were then reduced to 10 men in the 67th minute following a clumsy challenge from behind on Ramatlhokwane.
Botswana were unable to make their free-kick - from the edge of the area - count, as Ghana's defensive wall did its job.
The Zebras enjoyed a greater share of possession with their numerical advantage, but Ghana defended their lead with relative ease to avoid an upset.