Chan: Underdogs Gabon win the day

2014-01-18 19:54

Gabon have thrown the African Nations Championship (Chan) Group D wide open with a shock 1-0 victory over the pretournament favourites, the Democratic Republic of Congo, at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane.

Had they not wasted numerous chances today, the winning margin could have been bigger for the Black Panthers.

But Erwin Blynn Nguema’s second-minute header turned out to be the match winner.

Gabon are on top with four points, one ahead of the Leopards going into the group’s last matches on Wednesday.

They face Mauritania at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein, while the Leopards face minnows Burundi here in Polokwane.

Any team can still book their place in the quarterfinal on the last day.

Stephane Bitseki, Gabon goalkeeper, produced a match-winning save to deny Lema Mabidi an equaliser in the dying moments of the game as the Leopards made a late surge in an attempt to rescue a point.

Going into the game as underdogs, the Black Panthers got off to a dream start, stunning the pretournament favourites with an early goal.

Nguema headed home the opening goal from a corner in the second minute. Gabon couldn’t have asked for a better start as they unsettled their fancied opponents.

The Leopards were caught off guard by the Gabonese side full of energy and hungry for more.

The inaugural winners of 2009 had to come out and up their game in search of an equaliser.

Firmin Mubele and Patrick Ilongo combined to set up Heritier Luvumbu to tap in the equaliser, but the striker failed to connect with the ball in a move that only needed a touch in the 11th minute.

Two minutes later, Eric Nkulukuta’s powerfully struck free kick was tipped away for a corner by Black Panthers goalkeeper Bitseki.

That was the closest the Leopards came to finding a goal.

The Black Panthers were dangerous on the counterattack as the Leopards pushed forward in search of a goal that would level matters.

Robert Kidiaba, the Leopards goalkeeper, was left exposed at the back as his side failed to defend set pieces.

Gabon were threatening on the breakaway and set pieces, and this caused their opponents all sorts of problems at the back.

The Black Panthers were also rock solid at the back and they came up with a strategy to contain and frustrate the Leopards.

Samson Mbingui could have doubled the lead, but fired his shot just wide in added time.

The first half belonged to the Black Panthers and the Leopards were left with a huge task of rescuing the game.

Gabon should have ended the game as a contest, but Mbingui missed a one-on-one opportunity with only Kidiaba to beat.

But Leopards goalkeeper somehow pushed his effort for a corner five minutes after the restart.

It could have been game set and match, but experience let the Black Panthers down.

Gabon held out for a win.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.