International Soccer

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

Equatorial Guinea (Reuters)


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:



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:



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 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:



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.

  • Felix

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


  • patrick starr

    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…)


  • Mike Caramba

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


  • soccerhorn

    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!


  • marco

    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?


  • Remy

    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


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