Orange Africa Cup of Nations – Saturday 21 January 2012
Equatorial Guinea (1) – (0) Libya
Co-hosts Equatorial Guinea got the best possible start to the tournament with a single goal victory over Libya. In pure ranking terms this could be considered to be a surprise result given that Libya are ranked 63rd in the FIFA rankings against that of 151st for Equatorial Guinea. However, given Libya qualified against a background of Civil War and that they were forced to play all their home games in Egypt, the fact that they have even made it to the Finals is an achievement in itself. In an open first half, the home team thought they had taken the lead after 16 minutes, Libyan keeper Samir Aboud made a complete mess of Ivan Bolado’s shot which slipped under his body and crawled over the line, but the goal was ruled out for offside. The second half was a cagier affair, but just when it seemed that both sides would take away a point, Javier Balboa was just onside when he coolly curled home, three minutes from time to secure the victory for Equatorial Guinea and send the fans inside the Estadio de Bata into raptures.
Senegal (1) – (2) Zambia
The second game in Group A also caused something of an upset, when one of the tournament favourites Senegal lost 2-1 to Zambia. The Senegalese found themselves 2-0 down in the opening twenty minutes. Emmanuel Mayuka, who plays for Young Boys in Switzerland, opened the scoring for Zambia after 12 minutes. From a free-kick the ball was headed across the Senegalese penalty area and an unmarked Mayuka from six yards out made no mistake with his header. Zambia’s lead was doubled just seven minutes later by Tout Puissant Mazembe forward Rainford Kalaba, who beat the offside trap before rounding the keeper and slotting home. Senegal responded with a number of second half substitutions, one of which gave Newcastle fans a sight of the Demba Ba and Papiss Demba Cissse partnership. Dame N’Doye another of the substitutes got Senegal back into the game on 74 minutes, when he controlled a cross on his chest, cut inside his man before beating the Zambian keeper at his near post. However, Senegal couldn’t force a second goal and Zambia held firm to clinch a famous victory.
Group A resumes on Wednesday 25 January, with Libya v Zambia and Equatorial Guinea v Senegal.