GABON 1-1 BURKINA FASO: HOSTS STILL WITHOUT VICTORY
Hosts Gabon are still without victory at the AFCON on home soil as the second round of games started in Libreville with the Stallions of Burkina Faso frustrating the hosts into yet another stalemate. The Panthers came into the game having opened up their account in another equally frustrating 1-1 draw against Guinea-Bissau and were expected to clinch victory against the Stallions to enhance their chances of qualification into the next round of the competition.
But another disappointing draw here means the hosts have the unenviable task of having to beat Cameroon on Sunday to have any chances of qualifying. Burkina for their part will be quite content with a point here as a victory over group minnows Guinea-Bissau will ensure their passage into the last eight.
The game started in rather frantic mood with Gabon quickly coming out of the blocks to show real intent of getting the victory but it was Burkina who were carving out the chances earlier in the game. Jonathan Pitroipa set the alarm bells ringing for Burkina when he got struck down by injury but his replacement made the sort of immediate impact you can only dream of.
Prejuce Nakoulma had barely been on the pitch but a Gabon attack was halted and the ball was cleared from danger which inadvertently found the onrushing Nakoulma who showed a cool head in the Gabon area to repel the pressure from Obiang to bury the ball past Ovono in post for Gabon. That goal, completely against the run of play woke the hosts from their slumber and on the 38 minute mark Aubameyang drifted through the Burkina defence and when one-on-one with Koffi-in goal for Burkina- was heckled down, penalty.
The Gabon talisman stepped up and made no mistake from six yards. It was a pretty evenly matched affair in the second half as Burkina held off the incessant pressure from the hosts, held their own enough to frustrate Gabon throughout.
Gabon late into the game had presentable chances to pick the victory but they spurned with the likes of Bouanga and Aubameyang all guilty on varying occasions as the hosts look to Sunday and a date with destiny against Cameroon
CAMEROON 2-1 GUINEA-BISSAU: INDOMITABLE LIONS IN POLE POSITION TO SEAL QUARTER FINAL SPOT
Cameroon shrugged off an early scare to pick 3 valuable points in the other group A game to boost their chances of qualification into the next stage. The four-time champions were made to work hard for the victory which sees them top of the pile in the group and in pole position to qualify with the cracker against hosts Gabon on Sunday to prove decisive enough.
Cameroon, having fallen off their perch a bit missing out in the last couple of AFCONS came into the game knowing victory could prove pivotal if their chances of qualification will be enhanced but after just 13 minutes of action, they found themselves picking the ball out of their nets. Piquito picked a ball in his own area after a corner kick onslaught was repelled and in some stunning fashion went on a solo run into the Cameroon box beat his markers and shot his side into the lead.
The indomitable lions looked unsure of themselves in the first half as Guinea-Bissau grew in confidence as the game wore on. But in the second stanza, it was completely different Cameroon side and in the 61st minute their persistence paid off. Sebastien Siani fired home a low drive to pull Cameroon level with a sweet strike outside of the box.
From there on the indomitable lions rallied on in full swing as they went in search of the second goal and it came quite deservingly on the 79th minute mark with Michael Ngadeu-Ngadjui drilled home again from the edge of the box as Cameroon held on to record their first victory in the AFCON.
They lie top of group A with 4 points with Gabon and Burkina Faso( who played out an entertaining 1-1 draw earlier in the day)all with 2 points apiece and then Guinea-Bissau with a point and also with a chance of qualifying making the last round of games in the group finely poised.
By: Enoch Andoh-Mensah