Minnows Rise, Giants Wobble as AFCON Comes to Life

Sunday, and the day for the final games of matchday 2 of the ongoing African Cup of Nations (AFCON) wasn’t sunny for some of the biggest teams of the continent after all. To be straight to the point, it was a rainy day.

The Gambia, debutants at the competition went a step further to secure qualification for the next round as they restored parity at the death against a more illustrious Malian team. 

Bologna star, Musa Barrow scored the equaliser on the stroke of regulation time, eleven minutes after Ibrahima Kone had scored his second goal from his second penalty in the competition. The Gambia’s equaliser was met with a rapturous celebration from the Gambian team who are believed to be punching above their weight already. 

The Gambia sit top of group F after Matchday 2, tied on the same points as Mali with Tunisia sitting in third position with 3 points. All three teams go into the final group game hoping to snatch the group’s summit with Mauritania facing Mali, while The Gambia will play against Tunisia, who hammered Mauritania 4-0 to record the biggest win of the competition so far. 

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Rare Goalkeeping Error Costs Cote D’Ivoire Maximum Points 

It looked as though the Elephants were headed for their second win of the AFCON until goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare’s error helped Sierra Leone draw a late equaliser. 

Ajax attacker, Sebastian Haller had given the Ivorians the lead in the 25th minute after a perfect through ball from Wilfred Zaha. The Sierra Leoneans didn’t relent against their more illustrious opponents and scored an equaliser for the first time in the game on the 55th minute through a sumptous Musa Noah Kamara finish.

Arsenal’s Nicolas Pepe scored the Elephant’s second on the 65th minute as he drove a low effort past the agile Mohamed Kamara in the Sierra Leonean goal. Ivory Coast missed a flurry of begging chances afterward and will blame their profligacy for where the game eventually ended. Substitute Alhaji Kamara profited from a costly error from Sangare who mishandled a routine save, and in the process gifted Sierra Leone a famous equaliser. The Leone Stars were full of joy as they got another draw against a better-rated opposition.

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Algeria’s Unbeaten Run Ended By Equatorial Guinea

Twenty-nine wins and six draws were Algeria’s match records in their last 35 games. The champions were tipped to equal Italy’s 37-match record at the AFCON but were not able to do so, no thanks to Equatorial Guinea’s sucker-punch. 

Algeria had drawn their opening group game against Sierra Leone and were tipped to bounce back against Equatorial Guinea.  What was in store for the Fennec Foxes wasn’t to be expected as an Esteban Orozco Fernandez 70th-minute winner for Equatorial Guinea sent Algerian fans into melancholy. The tournament so far has been the opposite of expectations of football followers on the continent as the champions will have to play the game of their life against Ivory Coast to stand a chance of qualification having picked just a point from two games. 

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After two round of games, Ivory Coast sit top of Group E with four points, closely followed by Equatorial Guinea with three points and Sierra Leone with two points. Sierra Leone and Equatorial Guinea are also expected to lay all down as they chase a place in the round of 16. 

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