Africa Cup of Nations Day 2 Wrap: Ghana Held, Mali Secure First Tournament Win
The African Cup of Nations entered its second day of playing and it has to be said, it was far more enthralling than the first.
GROUP B RESULTS: Ghana 2-2 Congo DR, Mali 1-0 Niger
After both results on day one ended scoreless, you'd be forgiven for thinking the AFCON was yet to kick off.
The much-fancied Ghana took to the stage against a real minnow in Congo DR and both teams fired in two each to get us excited.
The favourites took a two-goal lead despite Asamoah Gyan's best efforts to ensure the tournament remained scoreless. Kwadwo Asamoah was the one who sparked it all.
His pass was slid home by Emmanuel Agyemang Badu, then Asamoah himself nodded home at the far post to double the advantage.
But Claude LeRoy—who was present on the touchline despite rumours that he'd tendered his resignation—oversaw a staunch comeback in which Dieumerci Mbokani netted one of the goals.
Disappointment for the Black Stars, joy for the Leopards. Goalkeeper Muteba Kidiaba epitomised that with this epic dance.
Congo manager LeRoy felt it was a game to get excited about, as reported by the BBC:
This match was a great advertisement for African football.
I'm proud of my players. They have great quality and they showed it by coming back to a high level competition like the Africa Cup after a seven year absence.
We deserved this result after all the problems we had and I hope that it will get the whole country behind the team now.
The later kickoff saw Mali pull a win out of the bag late on against Niger.
Captain fantastic Seydou Keita, also known as Pep Guardiola's "moral and ethical yardstick" struck in the 84th minute to give his nation a much-needed win considering the impending contest with Ghana.
It was a deserved victory for The Eagles who dominated for long spells, but had to rely on a gaffe from goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly to steal three points.
Mali manager Patrice Carteron told the BBC he was satisfied with a hard-fought win:
It was a difficult game against a very defensive team like Niger.
But I'm happy for the players because they have worked hard and this win will boost confidence for the next match against Ghana.
Day three will see four more teams take to the stage in an effort to impress early on in this contest, with Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Zambia and Ethiopa all featuring.
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