After two scoreless draws to open the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday, surely Sunday would feature more exciting play and at least a few goals from Group B, right?
The first game between DR Congo and Ghana wouldn't disappoint, as four goals would be scored and both teams would feature an open, attacking style. Hey, it only took 240 minutes of playing time before we got our first goal in the tournament—you can thank Ghana's Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu for breaking the drought.
Then to the chagrin of all, Mali and Niger nearly started another scoring drought, though thankfully a familiar face for La Liga fans ensured at least one goal would be scored.
Let's take a look back on Sunday's Group B action at the Afcon .
DR Congo and Ghana Draw, 2-2
Ghana will be kicking itself after only finishing this game with a point. The Black Stars held a 2-0 lead just after the half behind Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Kwadwo Asamoah goals, but the favored side couldn't hold onto the lead.
Still, DR Congo dominated first-half possession (57 percent), and needed only to do better with the opportunities it had. Eventually the goals would come, as Tresor Mputu and Mbokani would score second-half goals for DR Congo, helping the country earn a tie after a wonderful second-half comeback.
Ghana's afternoon was marked by chances gone awry. Early in the game, Asamoah Gyan missed the net with only the keeper to beat on a breakaway, while in the second half he would have a solid shot from just outside the box saved by Robert Kidiaba.
Kidiaba would stifle Ghana a few minutes later, making a beauty of a save on a free kick from about 40 yards out. And then with just six minutes left, Kidiaba would once again frustrate Gyan, saving what would have been a game-winning header.
Surely, DR Congo will be more pleased with the draw. Still, we can all be pleased with Ghana, which finally ended the annoying scoreless streak that marked the opening of this tournament.
Glad to see that's over.
Mali Defeats Niger, 1-0
Mali and Niger threatened to start another scoreless drought, as the majority of this game went by without either side finding the back of the net. But the immortal Seydou Keita wasn't having any of that, giving Mali a 1-0 lead in the 84th minute and ultimately the three points.
In general, this game was a bit of a snoozer. The first half was largely devoid of chances from either side, though Mali and Keita picked it up in the second half. Keita put several shots on goal in the second half, including a blazer that that hit the crossbar.
BBC's Nick Cavell summed this largely forgettable match as follows:
So Mali top Group B thanks to a win over Niger. It wasn't a great game, but the Eagles probably deserved the win as they pushed forward more in the second-half. Man-of-the-match Seydou Keita made it happen after some great play. Shame the match didn't live up to the first one—a great advert for African football—as DR Congo came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Ghana.
That's it in a nutshell, folks.
Niger must pick up its aggressiveness if it hopes to compete with a hungry DR Congo side on Thursday, while Mali will have a major test against Ghana that will have major implications over which teams survive Group B.
Hopefully, each game will be closer to the first contest on Sunday and not the latter.
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