Hosts Equatorial Guinea stun Gabon to enter quarter-finals of the AFCON
Equatorial Guinea and Republic of Congo have become the first teams to qualify for the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament
Bata (Equatorial Guinea), January 26 (IANS)
Equatorial Guinea and Republic of Congo have become the first teams to qualify for the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) tournament here.
The hosts scored through Javier Angel Balboa's second half penalty (55th minute) and another goal by substitute Ivan Edu Salvador to beat Gabon 2-0 at the Bata Stadium on Sunday, reports Xinhua.
Coach Claude Le Roy's team also humbled 2013 finalists Burkina Faso 2-1 in another Group A match.
After a scoreless first half, Equatorial Guinea cheered on by the home fans pushed ahead. Balboa made a driving run before surging into the Gabon penalty area. Gabon defender Lloyd Palun clipped him in the box and the referee awarded a penalty that he confidently converted.
Two minutes later, Raul Lvan Fabiani Bosio almost made it 2-0 for the hosts but Gabon goalkeeper Didier Ovono Ebang was up to the task and saved the shot.
Gabon's top striker Emerick Aubameyang continued to trouble the Equatorial Guinea defenders, but got no way through to score.
Later, Salvador got his chance when he capitalised on a Balboa cross to make it 2-0. It was all celebrations after the final whistle for the hosts.
Each of the teams had two players cautioned with Johann Obiang and Palun getting booked for Gabon, while Equatorial Guinea' s Iban Travieso and Ivan Zarandona also went into the referee's book.
At the Ebebiyin Stadium, Thievy Bifouma's 51st minute goal and another by Fabrice Ondama were enough to give Republic of Congo a 2-1 win. Le Roy's team finished top of Group A with seven points, while the hosts Equatorial Guinea are second on five points.