Champions Algeria fell to a shock 1-0 defeat to Equatorial Guinea – their first loss in 35 matches – thanks to Esteban Obiang’s 70th-minute winner at the Japoma Stadium on Sunday.
Equatorial Guinea stood up to the champions and were difficult to break down. Goalkeeper Jesús Owono produced two world-class saves to deny the North Africans after his defense line got breached.
As they (Algeria) struggled to create chances, they were warned on a few occasions by their opposition, as Pablo Ganet’s free-kick forced a decent save before Iban Salvador was just inches away from scoring the opener for the 114th ranked side in the world.
FULL-TIME! ⏰ #TeamAlgeria 0-1 #TeamEquatorialGuinea
Esteban Obiang scores as The National Thunder upset the defending champions and snatch the 3️⃣ points! #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021| #AFCON2021| #ALGGNQ pic.twitter.com/TkmWRcfn7K— CAF (@CAF_Online) January 16, 2022
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Similarly, Algeria were warned again when goalkeeper Raïs M’Bolhi denied Luis Nlavo shortly after the break. On the 70th minute mark, Esteban Obiang fired home to hand the underdogs the lead from inside the area after Djamel Belmadi’s men had failed to clear a corner.
Algeria had a late equalizer by Youcef Belaïli ruled out for offside and Obiang almost headed into his own net, as the National Lightning claimed a memorable win over the champions.
Algeria will have to beat Ivory Coast in their last game to stand a chance of qualifying while Equatorial Guinea, with the shock win, go second in Group E.
In the group’s other game, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone played out an entertaining 2-2 draw. Franck Kessie’s penalty was saved by Mohamed Kamara but Ivory Coast were undeterred by that as Zaha went ahead to set up Sébastien Haller in the 25th minute for the game’s opening goal.
However, Musa Kamara’s emphatic equalizer meant there was still more to come in the game. It was not long before Ivory Coast responded again as Nicolas Pépé curled in from the edge of the box to restore his country’s lead.
However, deep into stoppage time, Badra Ali Sangaré fumbled a simple headed back pass, allowing Alhadji Kamara to tap into an open net, thereby leaving the group wide open ahead of the final round of group games.
Mauritania eliminated in Group F
Gambia remained undefeated in their first-ever appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a 1-1 draw against Mali, as Musa Barrow struck late from the spot to cancel out Ibrahima Koné’s earlier penalty.
Tunisia ran a riot against Mauritania, putting four past them at the Limbe Stadium on Sunday. It was the perfect response after the controversial Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) opener against Mali. Two goals inside the first eight minutes from Hamza Mathlouthi and Wahbi Khazri set them on their way to victory before Khazri completed his brace after the break while Seifeddine Jaziri completed the scoring with a goal of his own in the 66th minute.
Image Credit: AFP