African Cup of Nations 2015: Close call for Avram Grant but late fightback puts Ghana through

Ghana scored twice in the last 17 minutes to beat South Africa

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The Independent Football

Ghana came back from the brink of elimination with two goals in the last 17 minutes to beat South Africa 2-1 and reach the African Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

The four-times winners were heading for an early exit after Mandla Masango’s spectacular volley for South Africa in the 17th minute. But substitute John Boye equalised from close range in the 73rd minute for Avram Grant’s side and Andre Ayew headed home 10 minutes later for a victory that took Ghana from going out to topping the group.

Goals from Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez and Tottenham’s Nabil Bentaleb gave Algeria a 2-0 win over Senegal and meant the pre-tournament favourites went through in second place.

Manchester City’s Yaya Touré could be on his way back to England in time for Saturday’s showdown with Chelsea if results do not go Ivory Coast’s way. Touré has come in for some criticism for indifferent displays in his side’s two draws so far but the midfielder has been defended by coach Hervé Renard, who claimed it was due to the quality of his team-mates.

“Ivory Coast is not Manchester City. The potential of players is not the same,” said Renard. “At City, there are players who can defend very well and create at the same time. With us it is different, so we asked him to do a different job.”

Renard added that Touré, who earlier this month was named African Footballer of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time in a row, has proven adaptable. “It’s easy to work with players of his calibre because you can ask a lot of things of them if you explain to them what you need and why,” he said.

Ivory Coast take on Cameroon while Guinea play Mali with all four sides tied in Group D after four 1-1 draws so far. If the situation persists after tonight’s games lots  will be drawn to decide who goes through.