AFCON: Algeria slip but Cameroon, Morocco and Nigeria progress

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Equatorial Guinea stunned Algeria 1-0 to leave the defending champions in danger of exiting the Africa Cup of Nations in the first round. Hosts Cameroon and powerhouses Morocco and Nigeria have all ensured their passage to the knockout phase.

It was the first major shock of the Africa Cup of Nations, but one that will go down in history. Equatorial Guinea ended Algeria’s run of 35 unbeaten matches with a 1-0 victory to condemn their illustrious opponents to just one point from their opening two games and a crunch match against Ivory Coast to decide their fate in Group E.

The Algerians had come into the tournament as sky-high favourites, but fell to a 70th-minute goal from Esteban Obiang against a team ranked 85 places lower in the world rankings. The North Africans had two goals disallowed. In their opening game, they had drawn goalless against Sierra Leone after which players pointed to Cameroon’s tropical climate as a reason for their below-par performance.

But those excuses will no longer do against Ivory Coast, when Algeria require a win to have any chance of progressing. In 1992, the Algerians also exited the Africa Cup of Nations as reigning champions in the group stage.

Other heavyweights have already guaranteed their spot in the last 16. Hosts Cameroon breezed past Ethiopia 4-1 with braces for both Vincent Aboubakar and Karl Tok Ekambi to remain top of Group A with six points. Morocco kept a clean sheet to defeat Comoros 2-0 and Nigeria won 3-1 against Sudan to remain unbeaten after two matches.

On Monday, Cameroon get the final round of matches in the group stage underway when they take on Cape Verde. The first round concludes on Thursday with matches Group E and Group F. Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea and the Gambia are among the teams looking to progress against the odds.

Source: (Inside World Football)

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