MALABO: CONGO have secured hard-fought victory over Central African rivals Gabon to gain some control over Group A at the ongoing Orange Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea.
The sides contested the Group A match played at the Estadio de Bata on Wednesday evening. The first half was a cagey affair as the two teams struggled to coin any real chances.
It is the Gabonese who however finished the half the stronger of the two sides- first the dangerous Levy Madinda controlling well but seeing his well struck effort sail just across the face of goal with Christoffer Mafoumbi a mere spectator.
The Congolese keeper however was smarter to thwart opposingcaptain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from a free kick from outside the D-area.
Whatever coach Claude le Roy imparted to his players seemed to have worked as Congo, against the run of play, took the lead three minutes after the restart.
Captain Prince Oniangue led by example as he finished from close range after the Gabon defence failed to deal with a corner. The bustling Madinda nearly pulled one back for the probing Gabon in the 58th minute but his thunderbolt attempt sailed narrowly over the bar although Mafoumbi would claim he had it covered.
The striker wasted another opportunity in the 80th minute when he blazed over Mafoumbi’s bar when it seemed easier to score. Gabon’s dominance eventually came to nothing as Congo held on to a famous victory that catapulted them to the top of Group A on four points.
Gabon drop to second on three points. Earlier, hosts Equatorial Guinea (2 points) and struggling Burkina Faso played (1 point) to a goalless draw.
Teams Earlier, Congo XI: Koulossa,Ngounga, Moutou, Bissiki, Baudry, Oniangue, Ndinga, Gandze, Babele, Ferebory, Mafoumbi
Gabon XI: Ovono, Appindangoye, Manga, Obiang, Palun, Madinda, Poko, Evouna, Ndong, Bulot, Aubameyang
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY