African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2022 in Cameroon finally completed matchday one this week with a victory for the host and Nigeria while the reigning champions was held in a goalless draw.
The host was expected to win easily over Burkina Faso but it was not easy at all. Frank Zambo Anguissa and Co did secure a narrow 2-1 win at the opener. They conceded first through Gustavo Sangare and could only reply by Vincent Aboubakar’s penalty brace before the interval. At the second half, Antonio Conceicao’s side only had a few chances. One of them was a fairly decent chance from Bayern man Eric Chopo-Mouting but it was denied by the opposition goalie. It was a sufficient yet unconvincing start. Cameroon will have to improve to be able to clinch the title on their home soil after a disappointing campaign in 2019 edition.
Their contender, Nigeria, seemed to perform slightly better for their initial campaign. The Super Eagles thumped one of the favourites, Egypt 1-0. Leicester man, Kelechi Iheanacho bagged the winning goal. He had a chance to double their lead but his strike was well-anticipated. Meanwhile, Egyptian skipper, Mo Salah could not shine here despite having one chance in front of the goal. It was denied by Sparta Rotterdam goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye. It was a necessary victory for them to lift up their confidence after their manager Gernot Rohr just a month before the tournament began.
Nigeria vs Egypt 1-0
Goals: Kelechi Iheanacho (30)
Nigeria: Maduka Okoye – Ola Aina, Wiliam Troost-Ekong, Kenneth Omerou (Semi Ajayi 79), Sanusi – Joe Aribo, Winfred Ndidi – Moses Simon (Alex Iwobi 91), Samuel Chukwueze (Chidera Ejuke 72) – Kelechi Iheanacho (Kelechi Nawali 80), Taiwo Awoniyi (Umar Sadiq 72)
Egypt: Shenawy – Hegazy, Tawfik (Mohamed Abdelmonem 11), Ahmed El Fotouh (Ayman Ashraf 46), Mahmoud El Wensh (Mohamed Sherif 90) – Mohammed Elneny, Fathi, Trezeguet (Zizo 58) – Omar Marmoush, Mustafa Mohammed (Ramadhan Sobhi 58), Mo Salah
In the meantime, the defending champions and FIFA Arab Cup winner, Algeria, was held in a stalemate while meeting Sierra Leone. They had plenty of decent chances in the six yard box, mainly from Yacine Brahimi and Gladbach left back Ramy Bensebaini, Unfortunately, none of them found the back of the net. Riyad Mahrez and Co seemed frustrated to break the deadlock. Such draw result shall lead to more pressure on them to win. Their next game would be tougher as Guinea also needs a win to keep their chance open to progress to the next round.
Morocco vs Ghana 1-0
Tunisia vs Mali 0-1
Guinea Equatorial vs Ivory Coast 0-1
Comoros vs Gabon 0-1
Mauritania vs Gambia 0-1
Guinea vs Malawi 1-0
Sudan vs Guinea Bissau 0-0
Ethiopia vs Cape Verde 0-0