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

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

International Soccer

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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