A late goal from former Southampton man Sofiane Boufal helped the Atlas Lions of Morocco to secure a 1-0 victory over Ghana in the opening game of Group C at the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday evening.

Both sides who have been tipped to go for glory endured a cagey first half with much attention paid into the defense than attack.

Things got better in the second half as both sides came out of their shells in the search of a goal.

Ghana almost went ahead when Joseph Paintsil’s brilliant curler from 25 yards was superbly tipped around the post by goalie Yassine Bounou.

Moments later the deadlock was broken seven minutes from stoppage time and it came off the boots of Sofiane Boufal. The forward latched on a loose ball in the box and hammered it from close range.

The brilliant run of Zakaria Aboukhlal into the box teasing Ghana defenders in the build up to the goal however cannot be overlooked.

Ghana’s woeful performance continues as they had lost 3-0 to Algeria in a warm-up game before the tournament began.

The loss means Ghana have won only one of their last five opening games at Afcon.

Meanwhile, the goal scored by Sofiane Boufal was his second international goal with his first being in a World Cup qualifier against Guinea in 2021.