Africa Cup of Nations: Hosts win opener, Ivory Coast squeaks by and more

Equatorial Guinea (Reuters)

By FRANCO PANIZO

The 2012 Africa Cup of Nations got underway this past weekend, and co-hosts Equatorial Guinea opened the tournament in dramatic fashion.

Former Real Madrid player Javier Balboa scored three minutes before the death to give Equatorial Guinea a 1-0 win over Libya. The goal not only gave the National Lighting three points in Group A, it also meant they would receive the $1 million reward that president Obiang Nguema's son offered them for a win.

Equatorial Guinea appeared to have taken the lead early on but two different strikes that found the back of the net were ruled offside, opening the door for Balboa's late-game heroics.

You can see the goal after the jump as well as other results from the tournament:

 

SENEGAL SUFFERS SURPRISE DEFEAT TO ZAMBIA

It did not take long for the first upset of the tournament to occur, as Senegal was beaten 2-1 by Zambia in the second match of the tournament on Saturday. Zambia took three points in Group A by taking advantage of some defensive miscues from Senegal and scoring two goals in a span of eight minutes in the first half. Senegal, which started former New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul between the pipes, pulled one back in the 74th minute but did not find an equalizer.

Here are the match highlights:

 

IVORY COAST GETS NARROW WIN OVER SUDAN

Tournament favorites Ivory Coast made hard work of its tournament opener, beating Sudan 1-0 in Group B action on Sunday. Didier Drogba scored the game's lone goal six minutes before halftime to give the Elephants the three points. Drogba's goal came when Chelsea teammate Salomon Kalou crossed the ball into the area before he headed it home from close range.

Here is the goal:

 

ANGOLA BEATS BURKINA FASO

Angola and Burkina Faso played an entertaining Group B match on Sunday, but the former claimed a 2-1 victory courtesy of a strike from Manucho. The former Manchester United striker ripped a shot into the back of the net from about 20 yards out in the second half. Manucho's winner was the third goal scored in the second half of a game which had a rather uneventful opening 45 minutes.

Here are the match highlights:

 

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What do you think of Equatotorial Guinea's clutch goal? Surprised Ivory Coast only won 1-0? Not so surprised Coundoul's Senegal lost?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to Africa Cup of Nations: Hosts win opener, Ivory Coast squeaks by and more

  1. Felix says:

    Is the guy in the photo wearing a Moroccan flag and running out of the stands to hug a Equitoguinean player? Seems strange.

  2. gas huffer says:

    Are these games being televised?

  3. Kevin_Amold says:

    African teams and players have some pretty good celebrations

  4. Enos says:

    Yes, I’d love to watch these games. Anybody know?

  5. Gnarls says:

    +1 for demonym skills.

  6. patrick starr says:

    According to Grant Wahl’s facebook page. You need “DISH Arabic Package (channel 601 Al Jazeera Sport USA)” to watch African Cup of Nations on TV (legally, obviously there are those online streams…)

  7. RK says:

    Fire Bob Bradley!

  8. Mike Caramba says:

    To be fair, the Moroccan flag goes better with the Equatorial Guinea uniform, and who wants to clash when they storm the field?

  9. soccerhorn says:

    As a Galaxy fan, I am always happy to see Coundoul lose. As a soccer fan, I am always happy to see any sub-saharan soccer team score a goal. Far and away the best goal celebrators on the planet!

  10. soccerhorn says:

    celebrants

  11. lprevolution says:

    Thank God. Finally something interesting posted in this forum.

  12. lprevolution says:

    Nice use of demonismismym…..sym….

  13. marco says:

    I’m watching the Ghana vs Botswana match on Tuesday and the stadium is nearly empty. What gives, economics, security, travel? Isn’t this the big thing in African football?

  14. Remy says:

    Hey, Bouna had a great game despite the loss. Zambia could’ve score 5 in the 1st Half…He definitely kept Senegal in the game