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Ayew gives Ghana winning start to AFCON

Associated Press logo Associated Press 17/01/2017

West Ham winger Andre Ayew converted a penalty as Ghana beat Uganda 1-0 to open the four-time champions' bid for a first African Cup of Nations title in 35 years.

Ghana took control of Group D after seven-time champion Egypt struggled in a 0-0 draw with Mali in the other group match.

Ghana has three points, Egypt and Mali one each and Uganda zero.

Ayew netted in the 32nd minute after Asamoah Gyan was held back by Isaac Isinde in the penalty area in Port-Gentil.

Ghana, managed by former Chelsea boss Avram Grant, are looking to reach a second successive final but go better than 2015 when his team lost to Ivory Coast.

Uganda have also finished runner-up in the continental championship but the trip to the final in 1978 was the last time they qualified until making the Gabon event.

Later, 44-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest player in tournament history when he came on for injured Ahmed El Shenawy midway through the first half.

El Hadary, who celebrated his birthday two days ago, is participating in his seventh African Cup, having picked up winners' medals in 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Egypt's standout forward Mohamed Salah struggled and was replaced midway through the second half.

Mali, looking to improve on their third-place finishes in 2012 and 2013, produced many more chances.

Egypt failed to qualify for the last three editions of the tournament.

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