Equatorial Guinea routs Ivory Coast to leave host nation on verge of Africa Cup elimination
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Emilio Nsue scored twice as Equatorial Guinea routed Ivory Coast 4-0 to leave the host nation in danger of an Africa Cup of Nations exit on Monday, when Egypt advanced and Ghana was likely eliminated.
Ivory Coast was left to rue a host of missed chances as Nsue opened the scoring before the break, and Pablo Ganet fired in a brilliant free kick after it, two minutes before the 34-year-old Nsue capped his performance with his fifth goal of the tournament. No other player has scored more.
Jannick Buyla completed the rout on a counterattack in the 88th.
It sent Equatorial Guinea into the knockout stage as group winner with seven points.
Nigeria defeated Guinea-Bissau 1-0 in the other Group A match to take second place on goal difference, while Ivory Coast was left hoping that its three points will be enough to be among the four best third-place finishers who also go through to the last 16.
“When we saw the group stage, we saw we were playing two of the top teams in Africa, but we were in prayer,” said Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Jesús Owono after his man-of-the-match performance. “I don’t know how far we can go. I know this team will work and do the same thing that we did today to reach as far as possible.”
Equatorial Guinea, the “National Thunder,” is only taking part for the fourth time.
Owono kept his team in the game by denying Nicolas Pépé in a one-on-one. The “Elephants” also had two goals ruled out through VAR for offside – Ibrahim Sangaré before the break and Jean-Philippe Krasso after it.
Owono’s counterpart, Yahia Fofana, had nothing to do until he picked the ball out of his net after Nsue fired the visitors ahead with their first attack in the 42nd. Carlos Akapo skipped through the Ivorian defense to set up Nsue and shock the fervent home fans at the 60,000-capacity Alassane Ouattara Stadium.
It was the first of 10 shots from the visitors. Ivory Coast finished with 22.
Opa Sanganté’s own-goal in the 36th minute was enough for Nigeria. The Guinea-Bissau defender was trying to cut out a cross for Victor Osimhen.
Osimhen again missed chances and his team’s lack of efficiency in yet another game will be a concern for “Super Eagles” coach José Peseiro.
LATE DRAMA IN GROUP B
Egypt is through, Ghana most likely out.
Egypt clinched its place in the last 16 despite conceding – after scoring – in injury time to draw with Cape Verde 2-2, while Ghana conceded two goals in injury time for a 2-2 draw against Mozambique.
Egypt had to win to be sure of advancing. In the end, a draw was enough because Ghana only drew, too.
Jordan Ayew scored two penalties and conceded another for Ghana. Mozambique’s Geny Catamo scored a penalty in the first minute of injury time before Reinildo headed in a corner to equalize in the fourth.
“I take responsibility,” said Ghana coach Chris Hughton, whose post-game news conference was interrupted by shouting in the mixed zone outside. Reporters were kept away from the Ghana players, who were escorted to the team bus amid increased security.
Cape Verde finished Group B with seven points, followed by Egypt on three, Ghana on two and last-place Mozambique also on two.
Ghana could still squeeze through with two points if Cameroon (1 point) and Gambia (0) draw when they play each other in Group C on Tuesday, and both Zambia (2) and Tanzania (1) lose when they play Morocco and Congo, respectively, in Group F on Wednesday.
It would ensure the two worst third-place finishers are from those groups, leaving Ghana among the best four – and Ivory Coast, too.
Egypt substitute Trézéguet equalized early in the second half to cancel Benchimol’s goal for Cape Verde, then set up Mostafa Mohamed in the third minute of injury time.
Cape Verde’s Bryan Teixeira had the last say for the “Blue Sharks” to stay unbeaten.
Egypt was without the injured Mohamed Salah, who cheered the team on from the sidelines.
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