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AFCON Day 5: Congo defeat Gabon to take the lead in Group A
In the first two matches, Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso both failed to make the most of their opportunities in a very open, attacking match.
Equatorial Guinea: Ovono, Rui, Mbele, Travieso, Nsue, Balboa, Senobua, Salvador, Sipito, Doualla, Zarandona
Burkina Faso: Sanou; Koffi, Koné, Yago, Gouo; D. Koné, Kaboré; B. Traoré, Alain Traoré, Pitroipa; Bancé
The hosts’ defence was placed under immediate pressure from the start by the Burkinabé attackers.
Alain Traoré almost gave the Stallions the lead in the 20th minute, but his free-kick hit the upright as Ovono watched on, helplessly.
19 minutes later, Traoré hit the same post again, with a left-footed volley from a lofted cross, before his brother, Bertrand, missed a fine chance shortly afterwards.
Equatorial Guinea started the second half brightly, as Kikeboula blazed over the bar following a good cross into the area.
Both teams continued to trade attacks for the majority of the second half, but the hosts finished the game in control, pressuring their opponents well.
The late kickoff saw Congo dispatch former group leaders Gabon with a determined 0-1 win – their first AFCON win in over 40 years – in Bata.
Gabon: Ovono, Poko, Appindangoye, Ecuele, Palun, Obiang, Madinda, Bulot, Evouna, Ndong, Aubameyang
Congo: Mafoumbi; Babele, Baudry, Moutou, Bissiki, Ngounga, Oniangue, Gandze, Ndinga, Koulossa, Dore Ferebory
Congo came shooting out of the blocks and wasted a chance to take the lead within seconds of the starting whistle, as they failed to make the most of an early free-kick.
Gabon should have taken the lead in the 19th minute, but Malick Evouna somehow failed to hit the target after going one-on-one with Mafoumbi.
The pace of the game slowed as half-time approached, and although Gabon won a free-kick in a dangerous position in first half stoppage time, Aubameyang’s effort was saved by Mafoumbi,
Congo took the lead shortly after the break; the Gabonese defence failed to clear the ball, and Oniangue was on hand to volley home from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Reims midfielder almost doubled his side’s lead shortly afterwards, but Ovono was equal to his effort at the second time of asking.
Charlton Athletic attacker Bulot missed his side’s best chance midway through the second half, as he fired wide in front of an open goal.
Gabon continued to press forward in search of an equaliser, as Claude LeRoy’s men threatened on the counterattack.
Another goal was not on the cards though, and Congo’s historic win takes them top of Group A with one round remaining.
Group A as it stands Congo 4pts Gabon 3pts Equatorial Guinea 2pts Burkina Faso 1pt Upcoming matchday Gabon x E. Guinea Burkina x Congo
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) January 21, 2015