Mohamed Salah scored the only goal of the game to give Egypt a much-needed Africa Cup of Nations victory against Guinea-Bissau at the Roumde Adjia Stadium on Saturday.

The Liverpool star struck a precise volley midway through the second half to secure his side's first points of the tournament.

The Pharaohs breathed a sigh of relief late on, though, when an apparent equaliser from Mama Balde was ruled out after a lengthy VAR check for a foul by the goalscorer on Omar Kamal.

Salah had struggled to make an impression in Egypt's opening defeat against Nigeria after being played down the middle, but the 29-year-old was back in his favoured position on the right side here and gave a hint that it could pay off in just the second minute as he received the ball in space before cutting inside and firing a shot against the near post.

Fali Cande hit a free-kick over the bar after 11 minutes for Guinea-Bissau, before Egypt hit the same part of the same post again when a nice move between Salah, Omar Marmoush and Mostafa Mohamed saw the latter's shot deflect away off the woodwork.

Egypt head coach Carlos Quieroz made changes to his team in the second half, including moving Salah back into the middle, and it worked as a clipped ball in the 69th minute into the box from Amr El Soleya found Salah, whose left-footed volley squirmed under Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes.

Quieroz's men hit the post for a third time through Zizo, before Balde got away from Kamal and hit a tremendous shot into the far right corner, but a VAR check saw the goal disallowed for a foul on the defender as Egypt went second in Group D with one game to go.

Nigeria confirmed their place in the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations with a routine 3-1 win over Sudan in Group D.

First-half goals from Samuel Chukwueze and Taiwo Awoniyi put the Super Eagles on their way, before Moses Simon added a third after the break.

Nigeria shipped a consolation goal, courtesy of Walieldin Khidir's penalty, but could now be crowned Group D winners with a match to spare, depending on Egypt's result against Guinea-Bissau.

Nigeria took less than five minutes to make the breakthrough, with Chukwueze finishing coolly after a long throw was hurled into the Sudan penalty area before Union Berlin forward Awoniyi deflected in a rebound from Kelechi Iheanacho's free-kick.

Having flown out of the traps in the first half, Nigeria did likewise in the second, with Nantes attacker Simon, who was lively throughout, volleying home.

Khidir fired home from the spot after a VAR check penalised Ola Aina's clumsy challenge on Mustafa Karshoum.

After beating Mohammed Salah's Egypt in their opening game, Nigeria have now won their opening two matches at two consecutive Cup of Nations tournaments for the first time ever, while Sudan have won just one of their last 15 Africa Cup of Nations games, a run stretching back to 1972.

The Africa Cup of Nations continues on Saturday with two mouthwatering games from Group D.

After 10 of the first 14 games of this year's competition finished 1-0, it was a nice change of pace that none of the four clashes on Friday did, but all four of the teams playing on Saturday would no doubt happily take a 1-0 in their favour.

Nigeria will be looking to follow up their impressive opening 1-0 win (naturally) against Egypt when they face Sudan, while Mohamed Salah and the Pharaohs will be aiming to bounce back against Guinea-Bissau.

Nigeria v Sudan

These two nations are meeting for the third time at the Africa Cup of Nations, but it will be their first encounter at the tournament for 46 years. Sudan won the first match 4-0 in the 1963 group phase, while Nigeria won 1-0 in 1976.

The Super Eagles will be looking to continue their impressive AFCON record in recent times, having won 10 of their last 12 games (L2), keeping six clean sheets.

Following a goalless draw in their opening match against Guinea-Bissau, Sudan have now managed just one win in their last 14 AFCON games (D6 L7), dating back to the 1972 tournament.

After scoring the only goal of the game against Egypt, and in his very first Africa Cup of Nations game, Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho could become the first Nigerian player to net in his first two AFCON appearances since Emmanuel Emenike in January 2013.       

One to watch: Samuel Chukwueze

The Villarreal winger made four key passes against Egypt, more than twice as many as anyone else in the game. The 22-year-old has two goals and an assist from 12 appearances this season in LaLiga, as well as averaging one chance created per game.

Guinea-Bissau v Egypt

This will be the first AFCON encounter between Guinea-Bissau and Egypt, but neither side come into it with anything like good form.

Guinea-Bissau remain winless in their seven matches at AFCON (D3 L4) and could become the seventh side not to win any of their first eight matches in the competition after Angola, Benin, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia and Uganda.

Egypt have lost two consecutive AFCON games for the first time since 2002. In fact, they have lost three of their last six in the competition, more than in their previous 29 combined (W21 D6 L2).

Guinea-Bissau have failed to score in five consecutive AFCON games. The only side to ever go six without scoring in the competition was Kenya in 1990.

One to watch: Mohamed Salah

Salah seems like the obvious pick but then the Liverpool star has scored 16 goals in the Premier League this season, six more than anyone else, and will no doubt want to improve on the solitary shot he managed against Nigeria.

Gabon gave themselves a great chance of making the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations thanks to Jim Allevinah's 88th-minute strike, which sealed a 1-1 draw with Ghana.

Once again shorn of talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed out due to "cardiac lesions" after contracting COVID-19 last week, the Panthers fought back on Friday.

Andre Ayew had lashed four-time AFCON champions Ghana ahead in the 18th minute with a powerful shot on the turn from just outside Gabon's area.

It was a brilliant effort from the Black Stars' captain, who according to Opta had only a five per cent chance of converting the opportunity, but the venom on his shot got the better of Gabon goalkeeper Jean Noel Amonome.

Yet it was the only attempt Ghana managed to get on target and they were made to pay late on when a quick free-kick caught their defence cold, with substitute Allevinah drilling in a low finish.

Ayew's angry reaction at full-time resulted in a fracas on the pitch, with the referee then showing a post-match red card to Ghana's Benjamin Tetteh, who punched a Gabon player in the face before seemingly fleeing the scene.

Gabon are on four points in Group C, with leaders Morocco now through. Ghana, meanwhile, must beat Comoros to stand a chance of progressing.

Senegal failed to take advantage of their apparent superiority against Guinea as they were held to a 0-0 draw at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Lions of Teranga reached the final of the 2019 tournament but are still awaiting their first AFCON title and better attacking play will be required for them to do so on the evidence of this Group B encounter.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was left to rue the absence of Senegal's Sadio Mane and Guinea's Naby Keita, as well as Mohamed Salah of Egypt, in their 0-0 EFL Cup draw with Arsenal on Thursday. But neither Mane nor Keita could provide the moment of magic to break the deadlock in Bafoussam, though it was not for lack of trying.

Guinea, for whom Keita played a game-high 18 passes in the opposition half, should have taken the lead in the 31st minute when Morgan Guilavogui shot straight at Seny Timothy Dieng after a counter-attack, while Mane created Senegal's best chance of the game in the 67th minute only for Bouna Sarr to skew hopelessly wide from close range.

Sarr's miss encapsulated a match in which the two teams combined for just three shots on target, though both should sail into the next round having each claimed four points from two games in a group with minnows Malawi and Zimbabwe.

Gabadinho Mhango scored twice as Malawi came from behind to beat Zimbabwe 2-1 on Friday, providing a real boost to the Flames' hopes of getting out of their group for the first time in Africa Cup of Nations history.

Ishmael Wadi had seemingly ensured Zimbabwe were going into the break ahead, with his towering header looping over Ernest Kakhobwe in the Malawi net with 38 minutes played.

But Meck Mwase's men levelled soon after, Mhango turning in Francisco Madinga's sumptuous left-wing cross.

Malawi then completed the turnaround just before the hour mark.

Mhango played the ball into Madinga from the flank and continued his run, which subsequently allowed him to capitalise on Teenage Hadebe's hesitant defending after a flick-on, and he guided a delicate finish over the onrushing Petros Mhari.

The result leaves Malawi with three points from two games, one behind top two Guinea and Senegal, and gives them a fine chance of at least securing one of the qualification spots awarded to the four best third-placed teams – Zimbabwe are pointless and staring at likely elimination.

 

Morocco are through to the Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 after goals from Selim Amallah and Zakaria Aboukhlal secured a 2-0 win over Comoros on Friday.

Amallah opened the scoring in the first half at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium and Aboukhlal added a second late on as the Atlas Lions made it two Group C wins out of two following a 1-0 victory over Ghana in their opening game, sealing their spot in the knockout stage.

Standard Liege midfielder Amallah showed great composure in the penalty area as he latched onto a loose ball after Ayoub El Kaabi's shot was blocked, before finishing with his right foot after 16 minutes.

Nayef Aguerd almost doubled Morocco's lead before the break when he met Sofiane Boufal's corner with a towering header, but rattled the crossbar.

Amallah shot wastefully wide following a terrible pass from goalkeeper Salim Ben Boina, who was in the thick of the action as he bundled Zakaria Aboukhlal over in the box, but saved the resulting penalty from Youssef En-Nesyri with seven minutes to go.

Ben Boina continued to keep a dominant Morocco at bay until Aboukhlal sidefooted home in the 89th minute, the VAR awarding the goal after he was initially ruled to be offside, as Comoros suffered a second defeat that leaves the AFCON debutants bottom of the group.

Burkina Faso blew open the battle to qualify from Group A of the Africa Cup of Nations as they beat Cape Verde 1-0 on Thursday.

A clever finish from Hassane Bande with six minutes left of the first half gave Kamou Malo's side their first points, after they lost 2-1 to hosts Cameroon in their opening fixture.

Cape Verde were seeking a second win after beginning with victory over Ethiopia, but they produced only one shot on target in each half in a rather insipid attacking display.

Indeed, the only major moment of quality came when Bande used his chest to turn in a ferocious right-wing cross from Issa Kabore to put Burkina Faso ahead.

Cape Verde applied greater pressure in the second half but could not avoid suffering just their second defeat in nine Africa Cup of Nations matches.

The result also puts them under substantial pressure as they must now seek a positive result against group leaders Cameroon to ensure they qualify.

 

 

The Africa Cup of Nations group stage continues at pace on Friday, with four matches scheduled to take place.

Senegal, runners-up in 2019, face Guinea in Group B, with both teams having won their opening fixtures. Malawi and Zimbabwe take each other on in the other match in that group.

Meanwhile, Gabon are hoping to have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang back for their clash with Ghana in Group C, while Morocco, winners against the Black Stars on matchday one, take on Comoros.

Senegal v Guinea (13:00 GMT)

Senegal and Guinea are meeting for the third time at the Africa Cup of Nations, with the former winning their first two encounters: 2-1 in the 1994 group stages and 3-2 in the 2006 quarter-finals.

In both matches, Guinea opened the scoring before eventually finishing as the losing side, and it is Senegal – led, of course, by Sadio Mane – who will be favourites on Friday, the Liverpool forward's 97th-minute penalty sealing an opening win against Zimbabwe.

Mane's fellow Red Naby Keita is Guinea's star man. He attempted more passes in the opposition half (26) than any of his team-mates in the 1-0 defeat of Malawi last time out and it was his precise ball that led to the only goal of the game.

Keita might have his work cut out against a Senegal midfield that will likely include Paris Saint-Germain's all-action Idrissa Gueye, the towering presence of Crystal Palace's Cheikhou Kouyate and Bayern Munich's versatile full-back Bouna Sarr, who had five attempts and played two key passes in the win over Zimbabwe.

One to watch: Sadio Mane

After his last-gasp winner on Monday, Mane has been directly involved in five of Senegal's past six AFCON goals, scoring four and providing one assist. Since his debut in the competition in January 2015, the former Southampton star has been directly involved in more goals than any other Senegal player.

 

Malawi v Zimbabwe (16:00)

After narrow defeats in their opening matches, Group B's other teams will be looking to bounce back knowing they could draw level with one of the pool's big sides with three points.

That being said, neither team exactly have a strong history in the competition. This will be the first encounter between the nations at an AFCON finals, with Malawi winning just one of their seven matches at the tournament (D1 L5).

Zimbabwe, meanwhile, are winless in their past seven AFCON matches (D2 L5), last claiming a victory in the competition in 2006, against Ghana (2-1).

It could be a case of an easily stoppable force meeting a highly movable object, however, with Malawi having failed to score in four of their past seven AFCON games, while Zimbabwe have never kept a clean sheet in 13 such matches, conceding 28 goals. No team has ever played more games in the competition without once keeping the ball out of their own net.

One to watch: Tino Kadewere (Zimbabwe)

Lyon forward Kadewere had to settle for a place on the bench in the first game, though he came on for the second half and had two attempts, which was bettered by only Knowledge Musona for Zimbabwe. In a squad shy of top-level European experience, Kadewere is undoubtedly the standout talent.

 

Morocco v Comoros (16:00)

After Senegal, Morocco are the second-best-ranked team at AFCON, currently placed 28th in the FIFA's world standings.

The Atlas Lions defeated Ghana in their opening Group C match and head into Friday's meeting with minnows Comoros as huge favourites, with Morocco looking to win their opening two matches at an AFCON in consecutive editions of the tournament, having only won both such games in one of their previous 16 appearances in the competition.

Comoros, who went down 1-0 to Gabon on Monday, will hope to avoid becoming the sixth AFCON debutants this century to lose their opening two matches, after Benin (2004), Botswana (2012), Burundi (2019), Niger (2012) and Zimbabwe (2004).

One to watch: Sofiane Boufal

Former Southampton midfielder Boufal scored an 83rd-minute winner against Ghana. No Moroccan player has netted in successive AFCON matches since Houssine Kharja in 2012.

 

Gabon v Ghana (19:00)

Friday's headline clash sees Gabon take on Ghana, and Aubameyang could well be back after he trained with his side following a negative coronavirus result.

Aubameyang, who has not played for Arsenal since early December and was recently stripped of the club captaincy due to a disciplinary breach, tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival for the AFCON, along with Mario Lemina.

Gabon will, however, be without coach Patrice Neveu, who is isolating. They are looking to win successive AFCON games for the first time since a run of three victories in 2012.

Four-time champions Ghana, meanwhile, have won just one of their past five group games (D2 L2), losing more in this run than in their previous 12 such matches combined (W9 D2 L1).

One to watch: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

There is no doubting Aubameyang's quality, even if the 32-year-old has been ostracised at Arsenal recently. Having been out of action for so long, it may take the former Borussia Dortmund star time to get up to speed, though he has the ability to be the difference-maker. 

Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar led from the front with a clinical double as the Africa Cup of Nations hosts swept to a 4-1 win over Ethiopia.

At the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde, Aboubakar and Karl Toko Ekambi feasted on generous defending to make it two wins from two for Cameroon. For Aboubakar, this was his second double in AFCON so far, after also scoring twice in an opening win over Burkina Faso.

Ethiopia stunned the home crowd with a fourth-minute opener, Dawa Hotessa tucking in from close range after some dismal defending. But there was a near-immediate response, Cameroon levelling with a fine header from Toko Ekambi in the eighth minute.

Aboubakar saw a 25-yard shot repelled by Ethiopia goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko in the lead-up, but Collins Fai collected the loose ball wide on the right and sent in a fine cross for Toko Ekambi to finish clinically at the far post.

It was another cross from Fai that caused chaos in the Ethiopia penalty area and allowed the hosts to edge 2-1 ahead in the 53rd minute. The delivery came from the right once more, and Aboubakar powered his header down into the ground and into the back of the net.

Aboubakar's second arrived two minutes later, the striker tucking in Nicolas Moumi Ngamaleu's low cross from the edge of the six-yard box. Toko Ekambi, who also hit the post with a header, completed his own double with a powerful low shot in the 67th minute as Ethiopia's defence stood off, unable to handle Cameroon's quality once more, the story of the game encapsulated.

Africa Cup of Nations chiefs have launched an investigation into why referee Janny Sikazwe blew for full-time twice before 90 minutes was up in Tunisia's match against Mali.

Tunisia head coach Mondher Kebaier described Sikazwe's officiating of Wednesday's game as "inexplicable".

Mali were leading the Group F match 1-0 through a Ibrahima Kone penalty when the Zambian official blew for full-time in the 85th minute.

Kebaier realised his error and play resumed for another four minutes, during which time Mali forward El Bilal Toure was dismissed, before blowing again with 13 seconds of the 90 minutes to go.

That was despite there being a number of stoppages in the second half, including a couple of lengthy VAR checks for Kone's penalty and one that Wahbi Khazri missed for Tunisia.

Tunisia officials stormed onto the field to protest and later refused to send their team back to the field when it was decided to play on for the final stages.

Now the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has confirmed it is probing the circumstances of the farcical and controversial scenes, which grabbed global attention.

It has been reported that Sikazwe was taken to hospital after the game, with the effects of heatstroke and dehydration having caused him to lose focus.

"In relation to the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations match between Tunisia and Mali played in Limbe on 12 January 2022, CAF is gathering all the necessary reports from the officials at the match," a CAF statement read.

"CAF is forwarding these documents to the competent bodies of CAF. At this stage, CAF is not in a position to make further comment until the responsible bodies indicate the way forward."

 

Gabon coach Patrice Neveu has tested positive for COVID-19 and missed training on Thursday as captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned from isolation with a rallying call.

Neveu's team started their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-0 win over Comoros on Monday, but the coach appears certain to be absent for their second game on Friday when Ghana provide the opposition.

The Gabonese Football Federation confirmed Neveu's positive test result and stated training was led by assistant coach Anicet Yala, who himself tested positive on arrival in Cameroon last week.

Arsenal striker Aubameyang and Monaco midfielder Mario Lemina also returned positive results before the tournament began, but both are back on the training pitch and could be involved against Ghana.

Aubameyang said he had been able to train on an exercise bike and treadmill in his hotel room to keep up a basic level of fitness.

"Staying locked up is not easy," he said. "So we're happy to be back in training and in the squad."

Aubameyang contended it was too early to feel in any way serene about Gabon's progress in the competition and insisted he and his team-mates must stay focused as Ghana await them.

"I won't say serene, but it certainly feels good to start the competition with a victory," said Aubameyang, quoted on the Gabon team website. "After that, you shouldn't think that you won the [Cup of Nations] either.

"We are going to play a very tough opponent who want to win the game, so we will have to be serious as we were in the first game and I know that we will have our chances.

"I was already very happy that the guys did the job in the first game, we are all proud of them. Now it's up to me to level up and bring everything I can to the group."

The Cup of Nations was expected to provide welcome respite for Aubameyang after strife at club level.

His Arsenal future has become clouded by uncertainty after he was stripped of the club captaincy and dropped by manager Mikel Arteta following a disciplinary breach.

Max Gradel's fifth-minute stunner was enough to see Ivory Coast start their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-0 win over Equatorial Guinea.

In just the second AFCON meeting between the two nations, experienced winger Gradel sent a thunderous first-time effort into the top-right corner to put the Elephants ahead in their opening encounter in Douala on Wednesday.

Yet despite facing a star-studded Ivory Coast side, Equatorial Guinea can consider themselves unfortunate not to have taken something against the two-time AFCON champions.

Indeed, Gradel's effort was the only attempt on target from Ivory Coast until substitute Nicolas Pepe forced a save from Manuel Sapunga in the 81st minute.

Emilio Nsue squandered Equatorial Guinea's best opportunity just after the hour-mark, drilling straight at Ivory Coast goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare when through one-on-one.

But the Elephants were not made to pay for their relatively blunt attacking, given the quality at their disposal, as they took the lead in Group E and ensured their run of avoiding defeat in AFCON openers continued, having last gone down in such a game in 1996.

Africa Cup of Nations hosts Cameroon are back in action as the second matches of the group stage get under way.

Thursday sees Group A take centre stage, with Cameroon facing Ethiopia and Cape Verde taking on Burkina Faso.

Cameroon, champions in 2017, of course have the aim of going all the way on home soil to claim their sixth AFCON title. A win, combined with victory for Cape Verde, would see both progress to the knockout stage with a game to spare.

Cameroon v Ethiopia (16:00 GMT)

Cameroon are ranked 50th in the world by FIFA, making them the seventh-best side in the competition, but tournament hosts always have that extra impetus to go all the way.

Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored both of Cameroon's goals in a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso in their opening match, and victory over Ethiopia – who the Indomitable Lions beat 3-2 in their only previous AFCON encounter in 1970 – will take them through.

Ethiopia are looking to bounce back from their 1-0 loss to Cape Verde. They are winless in their last nine AFCON matches (D3 L6), the longest current such run among teams in this year's competition.

Cameroon, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their previous seven group stage games (W3 D4), last losing in January 2015 (0-1 against Ivory Coast). The five-time champions are aiming to win their opening two games at an AFCON for the first time since 2006. 

One to watch: Vincent Aboubakar

Former Porto forward Aboubakar was Cameroon's Mr Reliable with two penalties in their comeback win over Burkina Faso. Having now scored in his last two AFCON appearances, he will become the first player to net in three consecutive games in the tournament for the Indomitable Lions since Samuel Eto'o in January 2008 (five in total) if he scores on Thursday.

 

Cape Verde v Burkina Faso (19:00 GMT)

While most of the attention will be on Cameroon, Cape Verde can also book their passage on Thursday.

Cape Verde saw off Ethiopia thanks to Julio Tavares' first-half goal, while Burkina Faso were downed by Aboubakar's two penalties in the space of eight minutes.

This will be the first AFCON encounter between the nations, with Cape Verde looking to remain unbeaten in their opening two games for the third straight tournament, having also done so in their two previous participations (two draws in both 2013 and 2015).

Burkina Faso, meanwhile, are looking to avoid suffering consecutive defeats in a single edition of the tournament since 2012, when they lost all three group matches.

With four of the best-ranked third-placed teams progressing to the knockout stage, Burkina Faso will surely go all out for victory to put themselves firmly in contention despite their opening defeat to Cameroon.

One to watch: Gustavo Sangare (Burkina Faso)

Sangare marked his AFCON debut with the opener against Cameroon and was a standout performer, creating a game-leading four chances. No Burkina Faso player has scored in successive AFCON matches since Alain Sibiri Traore in January 2013.

 

Gambia secured a historic win as they beat Mauritania 1-0 in their first ever game at the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday.

It was a tight Group F contest between two of the newer nations on the elite African football scene, with this being Gambia's first ever appearance in AFCON and only Mauritania's second after making their debut in the 2019 tournament.

The Scorpions did not have to wait long for their first AFCON goal as Bologna's Musa Barrow laid the ball off to Ablie Jallow on the edge of the penalty area in the 10th minute, and the winger fired a left-footed effort past the dive of Babacar Diop and into the far right corner.

Barrow tried an ambitious volley from long range that swerved comfortably wide as Gambia looked to add another, but Mauritania slowly began to grow into the game before half-time, with former Fulham striker Aboubakar Kamara a constant presence in attack.

It should have been 2-0 early in the second half when a free-kick from Ebrima Colley found Omar Colley at the far post, but the Sampdoria defender could not guide his header on target.

Mauritania showed little sign of finding an equaliser in the second half, with a hopeful appeal for handball following an Idrissa Thiam free-kick about as good as it got for Didier Da Rosa's men, while Diop was forced to make a smart save from Barrow late on.

Page 6 of 8
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.