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Hosts Cameroon top Afcon Group A despite draw
17 January 2022, 8:33 PM

Cameroon gave up a second-half goal to the Cape Verde Islands as they were held to a 1-1 draw on Monday but the hosts still finished top of Group A in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Captain Vincent Aboubakar scored his fifth goal of the tournament to put Cameroon in the lead in the 39th minute before halftime substitute Garry Rodrigues equalised in the 53rd minute.

Rodrigues’ audacious back flick ensured Cape Verde finished with four points in third place in the standings. They are likely to advance as one of four best third placed finishers.

Rodrigues had been a surprise omission from the starting line-up but underlined his ability soon after coming on.

Aboubakar fired home a left footed shot after a botched clearance from the Cape Verdians, adding to a double scored in each of the opening two matches.

But Cameroon were unable to end the group phase with three victories, which had been their ambition.

“It was difficult opponent who made things tough for us,” Aboubakar told reporters.

“It was difficult to win although we wanted to finish with a 100% record. But we must not be negative about it because we are through.”

Aboubakar also missed a close-in chance in the second half, but overall Cameroon had limited chances in the match at the Olembe Stadium.

Burkina Faso finished second, also with four points, after a 1-1 draw with Ethiopia in the other Group A match.

Burkina Faso into second round after draw with Ethiopia
17 January 2022, 8:21 PM

Burkina Faso secured a place in the knockout stage at the Africa Cup of Nations after Cyrille Bayala’s first half goal helped them to an uninspiring 1-1 draw with Ethiopia and second place in Group A at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam on Monday.

Bayala netted midway through the opening period but his goal was cancelled out by an 82nd penalty by Ethiopia striker Getaneh Kebede that earned his side their only point of the tournament.

Hosts Cameroon are top with seven points followed on four by Burkina Faso, who edged Cape Verde Islands into third spot on the head-to-head rule. The latter now face an anxious wait to see if they one of the four best third-placed sides to advance.

Ethiopia are eliminated but will be pleased with a much better defensive performance, while 2013 finalists Burkina Faso have a lot to improve if they are to go deep in the tournament.

Burkina will face the runners-up in Group C in the next stage, which will be either Morocco, Gabon or Ghana, though most likely one of the latter two.

The worry for coach Kamou Malo will be how his side were second best for much of the game on Monday against a side they would expect to beat.

Goalkeeper Farid Ouedraogo, who was in the Burkinabe team after usual number one Herve Koffi tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, had to twice make excellent stops to deny Kebede.

But it was the west Africans who took the lead with a goal that was simple in its creation.

Adama Guira’s long ball was chased by Bayala, who outstripped the defenders and lobbed advancing Ethiopia goalkeeper Teklemariam Shanko with a tidy finish.

That was as good as it got for Malo’s men, and Ethiopia were level seven minutes into the second period after they were awarded a spot kick for Steeve Yago’s handball from a corner.

The decision was made on review and was the correct one. Kebede arrowed his penalty into the bottom corner to draw his side level.

Afcon Group A Permutations – All to play for, for the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde
17 January 2022, 5:40 PM

Previous results 

Cameroon results 
Cameroon 2 – 1 Burkina Faso (WIN)
Cameroon 4 – 1 Ethiopia (WIN) 

Burkina Faso results 
Burkina Faso 1 – 2 Cameroon (LOSS)
Burkina Faso 1 – 0 Cape Verde (WIN)

Cape Verde results 
Cape Verde 1 – 0 Ethiopia (WIN)
Cape Verde 0 – 1 Burkina Faso (LOSS) 

Today’s fixtures 
Burkina Faso vs Ethiopia
Cape Verde vs Cameroon 

The permutations:

As the curtain comes down on group stage matches for Group A, Cape Verde will have all to play for, going into the final group match against hosts, Cameroon. 

The Blue Sharks, as the islanders are affectionately known, have only taken a bite against the group’s whipping boys, Ethiopia, winning 1-0 in their opening encounter. A subsequent loss to Burkina Faso, with whom they are tied on three points apiece, meant they lie third on the group log owing to an inferior head-to-head stat against The Stallions. 

If they win against the high-riding Indomitable Lions on Monday they will most likely finish top of the group with six points, depending on what results Burkina Faso get out of the face-off with Ethiopia, with the likelihood of facing Gabon or Ghana in the Round of 16.  

A draw will earn them a point with a chance to go second, but a draw or win for Burkina Faso will still relegate them to third position, but with a very strong chance of going through as one of the four best third-placed teams. 

However, evening though Cameroon have already qualified for the Round of 16 with Ethiopia already having been eliminated, it doesn’t mean the Indomitable Lions have nothing to play. Winners of Group A, of which the host are already at the top, will face off against one of the best third best-placed teams in the knockout stages – a motivation to get the three points against the Blue Sharks to have an even better chance of facing a ‘struggling’ side in the knockout stages. 

Burkina Faso vs Ethiopia Match Facts:

Burkina Faso and Ethiopia’s only previous encounter in the Africa Cup of Nations took place in the group phase of the 2013 tournament – Burkina Faso won 4-0. It is The Stallions’ biggest victory to date in the tournament. 

Burkina Faso have only lost one of their last five games in the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations (W2 D2), with that lone defeat coming against Cameroon on MD1. They will be looking to win consecutive games in the group stage of the competition for the first time since February 1998 (v Algeria and Guinea). 

Ethiopia are winless in their last 10 games at the Africa Cup of Nations (D3 L7), and have lost their last four in a row. A defeat here would equal their longest losing run in their history in the competition (five games between 1968 and 1970). 

No player has had more shots (4) or created more chances (6) for Burkina Faso in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations than Gustavo Sangaré. He has been involved in 10 shots, at least four more than any of his teammates in this edition so far. 

Mignot Debebe has registered the most touches (128), passes (110) and clearances (9) among Ethiopian players in the Africa Cup of Nations 2021.

Cape Verde vs Cameroon Match Facts:

This will be the first encounter between Cape Verde and Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations. 

Cape Verde lost 0-1 against Burkina Faso last time out in the Africa Cup of Nations, after only losing one of their first eight games in the competition (W2 D5). 

Cameroon have won both of their games in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations so far (2-1 v Burkina Faso and 4-1 v Ethiopia), while they last won their opening three games in a single edition of the tournament in 2006. 

Cape Verde’s last four games at the Africa Cup of Nations have seen just two goals scored (one for, one against), having kept three clean sheets in this period, but also failing to score on three occasions themselves (W1 D2 L1). 

Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar has been directly involved in six goals in his last four appearances at the Africa Cup of Nations (five goals, one assist), while he has netted a brace in both of his games in the current tournament (v Burkina Faso and Ethiopia). 

Qualifying Criteria 

In case of equality between two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the following criteria in the order listed below: 

a)  The greatest number of points obtained in the match between the two teams concerned; 

b)  The goal difference in all group matches; 

c)  The greatest number of goals scored in all group matches 

d)  A drawing of lots conducted by the Organizing Committee 

In case of equality between more than two teams at the end of the group matches, the teams will be ranked according to the following criteria in the order listed below: 

The greatest number of points obtained in the matches between the teams concerned; 

a)  The best goal difference in the matches between the teams concerned;

b)  The greatest number of goals scored in the matches between the teams concerned; 

Criteria of defining the best 4 thirds in the groups 

The four best teams among those ranked third will be determined as follows: 

a)     greater number of points obtained in all group matches;

b)    goal difference resulting from all group matches;

c)     greater number of goals scored in all group matches;

d)    drawing of lots by CAFOrganisingadditional reporting by CAFONLINE 

Aubameyang still not able to train at Cup of Nations
17 January 2022, 3:47 PM

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina were missing from training again for Gabon at the Africa Cup of Nations finals on Monday as the after-effects of their COVID-19 infection continued to keep them sidelined, the Gabon Football Federation said.

The pair had been released from quarantine last week but were then stopped from playing in Friday’s game against Ghana after doctors said cardiac lesions were detected in post-COVID medical examinations.

While the rest of the available players trained on Sunday and Monday, the pair awaited the results of further examinations.

Gabon have also been hit by several new infections, including winger Denis Bouanga, substitute goalkeeper Noubi Fotso, left-back David Sambissa, midfielder Serge Ngouali and striker Ulrick Eneme Ella, a statement added.

Bouanga, Eneme Ella and Ngouali all featured in their 1-1 draw with Ghana in Yaounde, which lifted Gabon to four points and likely qualification to the last 16.

But defenders Gilchrist Nguema, Sidney Obissa and Lloyd Palun and forwards Axel Meye and Kevin Mayi have returned without concerns after their COVID-19 isolation and can be fielded on Tuesday when Gabon meet Morocco in their last group game in Yaounde.

Equatorial Guinea upset holders Algeria in Afcon shock
17 January 2022, 2:08 PM

Esteban Obiang scored 20 minutes from time as Equatorial Guinea pulled off one of the great Africa Cup of Nations finals upsets with a 1-0 win over defending champions Algeria on Sunday.

The shock Group E result leaves Algeria bottom of the standings and needing a win in their last group game against the Ivory Coast on Thursday to stand any chance of advancing.

Obiang struck from a corner as the tiny nation of 1.4-million ended Algeria’s run of 35 unbeaten internationals, inflicting their first defeat since a 1-0 loss to Benin in October 2018. Sunday’s defeat means they fall short of Italy’s record of 37-match unbeaten streak set last year.

Equatorial Guinea now have a chance to win the group when they face Sierra Leone in their last game on Thursday. They have three points, one behind the leaders Ivory Coast. Sierra Leone are on two points and Algeria have one.

Equatorial Guinea had been given little chance but battled gamely and took a rare opportunity when Josette Miranda flicked a corner across the face of the Algerian goal and defender Obiang struck the ball home at the back post.

Obiang is one of eight players from the lower leagues in Spain, the former colonial power, in a motley Equatorial Guinea side, who were expected to be also-rans at the tournament.

At times the minnows survived precariously but with Riyad Mahrez largely ineffective and Algeria in niggly mood, the holders ran out of ideas at the end and looked to give up, sparking frenzied celebrations for Equtorial Guinea on the final whistle.

Algeria had the ball in the net after 23 minutes as Baghdad Bounedjah netted from close range but he was ruled offside. Mahrez, whose header was stopped on the line before Bounedjah followed up, had strayed offside in the build-up.

Equatorial Guinea, with their coach Juan Micha back on the bench after recovering from COVID-19, were mostly on the back foot but made two good chances for themselves in the first half. First was a free kick from Pablo Gannet that was cleverly struck towards the near post and almost caught out goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi.

The second a rasping left footed drive from Iban Salvador five minutes before the break that went narrowly wide.

Algeria had another ball in the net chalked off for offside in the final 15 minutes when Youcef Belaili struck a powerful shot.

But when they threw everything forward in search of the equaliser in the closing stages, they looked clumsy and panicky.

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