Traoré scores late penalty for Burkina Faso to edge Mauritania in Africa Cup
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Bertrand Traoré scored a late stoppage-time penalty for Burkina Faso to edge Mauritania 1-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations opening game on Tuesday.
The match in Bouaké was heading toward becoming the first goal-less draw of the tournament until Nouh Mohamed El Abd fouled Issa Kaboré in the penalty area in the third minute of second-half stoppage time.
Traoré, an Aston Villa forward, held his nerve and sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to score in the 96th minute and secure three points for the “Stallions,” lifting them to the top of Group D after one round of games.
“We believed in it until the end,” said Blati Touré, who was named man of the match.
Algeria and Angola drew 1-1 on Monday in the other group game.
Burkina Faso reached the semifinals in the last edition. Since 2013, the Burkinabè have made one final and two semifinal appearances, but the country has never won the Africa Cup.
“It means everything," defender Edmond Tapsoba said of the prospect of winning the title for the first time, in an Associated Press interview.
BRAVE WARRIORS MAKE HISTORY
Deon Hotto pounced late for Namibia to upset Tunisia 1-0 and claim the country’s first-ever Africa Cup win in their Group E opening game.
Bethuel Muzeu did well on the left wing to elude a defender before whipping in a cross to the far post for the unmarked Hotto to head past Tunisia goalkeeper Bechir Ben Saïd in the 88th minute.
Both Ben Saïd and his “Brave Warriors” counterpart Lloyd Kazapua had shown their prowess with important saves before that.
Hotto, who plays for the Orlando Pirates in South Africa, celebrated with two somersaults as he ran toward the ecstatic Namibia fans at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo.
Namibia, which is taking part in the Africa Cup for just the fourth time, has finished bottom of its group in each of its previous appearances.
Tunisia, considered one of the pre-tournament favorites, is going for its second title after winning the Africa Cup in 2004.
South Africa was playing Mali in the other group game later.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer