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AFCON Day 9: Congo, Equatorial Guinea qualify
Congo XI: Mafoumbi, Baudry, N’Ganga, Babele, Bissiki, N’Dinga, Oniangue, Litsingi, Moutou, Dore, Bifouma
Burkina Faso XI: Sanou; Mohamed Koffi, Yago, B. Kone, Gouo; D. Kone, Kabore, R. Traore; Nakoulma, Pitroipa, A. Traore
The first half was uneventful, and despite threatening through Jonathan Pitroipa, Burkina Faso struggled to create chances to score.
After the break, both teams seemed to loosen up a bit, and the effect on the match was tangible; more chances were created and it only seemed like a matter of when, not if, either side would score.
The long-awaited opener came in the 52d minute, when Thievy Bifouma squeezed between Sanou and his defence to poke home.
The goal seemed to invigorate the Burkinabe, who entered the game needed a win – coupled with a win for Eq. Guinea or Gabon in the other match – to qualify.
The 2013 AFCON runners up eventually managed to equalize in the 86th minute, thanks to an Aristide Bance goal, but were ultimately left heartbroken as Ondama restored Claude LeRoy’s men’s lead second later.
The 2-1 win means the Frenchman has reached 7 AFCON quarterfinals with different teams in his managerial career.
Gabon XI: Ovono; Palun, Ecuele Manga, Appindangoye, Obiang, Poko, Kanga, Madinda, Bulot, Evouna, Aubameyang
Eq. Guinea XI: Ovono; Randy, Da Gracia, Evuy, Sipo; Kike, Zarandona, Ellong, Ivan; Nsue, Balboa
In the other Group A match, Gabon had the majority of the chances in an open first half, but their forward line – including Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – failed to make them count.
Equatorial Guinea were awarded a penalty six minutes after the half-time break, and Javier Balboa calmly dispatched the spot-kick beyond Ovono to give the home fans something to really cheer about.
Gabon – who looked like the real deal following their 0-2 win against Burkina Faso in their first game of the tournament – were going out, and the Panthers looked to their pacy forward line to provide the all-important equaliser.
Their frustration began to show, however, and Aubameyang’s poor set-piece in the 85th highlighted their lack of ideas.
Halfway into stoppage time, Eq. Guinea poured salt on their opponents’ wounds when Iban Salvador Edu scored from a rebound, following a swift counterattack.
The home support roared as the final whistle blew, and the National Lightning will definitely see this tournament as a success, regardless of the result of their quarterfinal match against the winners of Group B.
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) January 25, 2015