Ghana captain Andre Ayew dismissed Gabon as a “small team” after Jim Allevinah’s late goal saw Friday’s Africa Cup of Nations clash between the teams in Yaounde finish in a 1-1 draw.
Ayew’s fine early strike had the four-time champions on course to claim their first win in Group C only for Allevinah to blast in a superb 88th-minute equaliser that puts Gabon on the brink of the last 16 but leaves Ghana’s hopes on a knife-edge.
The Black Stars were furious that Gabon scored after opting not to return the ball when Ghana put it out of play after their midfielder Daniel-Kofi Kyereh went down injured.
“It was very small of them, but then that is how it is with small teams,” Ayew said.
“We put the ball out of play, and it is fair play in football to give the ball back. Had they done that they would not have scored. They didn’t have any chances.”
After a shoving match broke out on the pitch at full-time, the referee summoned a Ghanaian back out from the dressing room to brandish a red card.
The player in question appeared to be Benjamin Tetteh, with television pictures showing that he punched Gabon’s Aaron Boupendza during the melee.
The result leaves Ghana with just one point in Group C, with Gabon on four and Morocco — who secured qualification after beating the Comoros 2-0 earlier — now certain to advance as one of the top two.
“We will swallow the pill and try to win the next game, and hopefully four points will be enough to go through,” said Ayew.
It was a fine result for Gabon who were again without star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Mario Lemina.
The duo missed the team’s opening win over the Comoros after testing positive for Covid-19 and sat out this match after some residue from their infection was detected in their negative test on the eve of the game.