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Sports News of Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Source: GFA

Stevanovic relieved with hard fought win

Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic has expressed satisfaction with the victory over Botswana in the opening Group D clash on Tuesday in Franceville.

Ten-man Ghana beat the African Cup of Nations first-timers 1-0 to go joint-top in the group after Mali also won by the same margin against Guinea.

Captain John Mensah’s 25th-minute goal only separated the two sides at the Stade de Franceville.

But Mensah was sent off in the second half for a foul on Jerome Ramatlhakwane, as the striker bore down on Ghana’s goal.

However, the final whistle of the close encounter was met with relieved celebrations by Stevanovic.

“We have learned that at this tournament it’s not easy to beat anybody,” Stevanovic said.

Ghana endured a difficult game after Mensah's dismissal and Stevanovic believes that worked for the "Zebras".

"We controlled the game until the red card for Mensah," the Ghana coach said with his captain set to miss the next two games.

"We created some chances but they closed down the game with 10 men behind the ball.

"All the same, it was very important that we won our first game of a tournament that has already produced some surprises."

Ghana plays Mali next on January 28.