Guinea left-back Issiaga Sylla scored a first-half goal to steer his side to a fortunate 1-0 victory over depleted Malawi in an entertaining Africa Cup of Nations Group B clash at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam on Monday.

Malawi, making a third appearance at the finals and first since 2010, had 13 members of their squad unavailable following a COVID-19 outbreak in their camp, which meant they could only name four players on the bench that included two goalkeepers.

But they missed numerous chances to claim something from the game and were left to rue their profligacy after 35 minutes when Guinea forward Jose Kante teased their defence before sliding a perfect pass for Sylla to score from close range.

Guinea move level with Senegal at the top of the group after the latter beat Zimbabwe 1-0 nL1N2TQ15V in their opener thanks to a 97th minute Sadio Mane penalty earlier on Monday. The top two will meet in their second pool game at the same venue on Friday.