AFCON: Congo breaks 41-year jinx
Congo looks set for the quarterfinals after securing its first victory at the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations for 41 years with an upset 1-0 win over favored Gabon Wednesday.
Gabon, who topped Group A after an opening victory over Burkina Faso, fell victim to a Prince Oniangue goal early in the second half and wayward finishing.
The vital win in Congo’s first appearance at AFCON since 2000 leaves Claude Le Roy’s team needing just a draw from its final group game against Burkina Faso to reach the quarterfinals.
Oniangue, who plays for Reims in the French top-flight, grabbed his goal after Gabon failed to clear a 48th minute corner.
Gabon should have leveled midway through the half when Frederic Bulot sent a shot wide with the goal at his mercy.
Bulot’s first time volley early in the match had nearly put Gabon into an early lead but it was turned over the crossbar by Christoffer Mafoumbi in the Congo goal.
Mafoumbi also made a fine save from Gabon’s star player Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after a free kick, but after the break Congo came more into the game and deserved its victory to move onto four points after two games.
Earlier, 2013 runner-up Burkina Faso and host Equatorial Guinea played to a goalless draw, leaving both sides looking for victories in the final round of group matches to advance further in the 16-team competition.
Burkina Faso is left with just one point from two games and seemingly out of luck after Alain Traore twice saw first half efforts strike the woodwork.
The home side offered little in attack until after the break when Javier Balboa embarked on a brilliant solo run and set up Ellong Viera to shoot wastefully over the crossbar.
Home coach Esteban Becker was delighted with his side’s display and a second point earned in the finals.
“I’m not just satisfied, I’m very satisfied. I’m very proud of this young team, which is 100 percent Equatoguinean and everyone wants to defend the country’s colors,” the Argentine told AFP.
“Burkina Faso are very strong opponents. They have eight players who play in the French league and we are like ants compared to them,” he added.
Burkina Faso coach Paul Put rued the missed chances.”Our problem is finishing, I can’t understand. We created lots of chances. Equatorial Guinea did not have as many,” he said.
CNN, January 22, 2015
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