0 chances created, 23 touches: Chelsea loanee struggles in AFCON opener

Ghana Flags

Everton's on-loan Chelsea attacking midfielder Christian Atsu had an evening to forget as Senegal beat Ghana 2-1 in the African Cup of Nations.

Chelsea attacking midfielder Christian Atsu, who is currently on loan with Everton, may have won the penalty that gave Ghana the lead but other than that struggled to impose himself on the game.

In a game that Senegal largely controlled through possession, it was hard to judge just how Atsu did as the starting attacking midfielder for Ghana but the statistics tell their own story.

In the first 15 minutes, it looked like Ghana and Atsu were going to have a successful evening as the Blues loanee’s pace proved to be too much for Bouna Coundoul, the Senegal goalkeeper, as he was brought down in the area. 

Jordan Ayew scored the resulting penalty, but it wasn’t long before the strength of the Senegal team began to show.

In the second half, Senegal were in control from start to finish and got their reward just before the hour mark through Mame Biram Diouf.

At 1-1, the decision was made by the Ghana manager to take off the largely ineffective Atsu but it made little difference as the last of Senegal’s 20 shots found the back of the net to give them the victory, courtesy of Moussa Sow.

After the match, there could be no doubt which side deserved it more as Senegal had more shots on goal, more shots on target and over 60% of the possession, and on reflection the Chelsea midfielder undoubtedly will be disappointed with his overall impact.

Statistics:

Minutes played – 67

Shots – 2

Shots on target – 1

Key passes – 0

Total passes - 17

Pass accuracy – 94%

Touches – 23

In the role Atsu was given, to only touch the ball 23 times will be hugely disappointing and his manager, but even more so was the fact he created no chances for his teammates.

He rarely lost possession himself and despite not affecting the game an awful lot cannot be blamed for giving the ball away on a regular basis. Nevertheless, the fact he touched the ball less than any other starting player on the pitch is hard to excuse. 

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