Gabon coach Stephane Bounguendza was a relieved man after his side staged a late comeback to beat Mauritania 4-2 in their Group D African Nations Championship match. Bounguendza said: “We faced a very good Mauritanian side that made the game difficult for us – but we never gave up. They gave us the most trouble of all the three teams we’ve played in the group. With more time, Mauritania will improve.” The Mourabitounes were 2-1 ahead on the hour mark courtesy of a brace from Moulaye Ahmed Khalil while Duval N’zembi pulled one back for the Panthers. Then Gabon showed their strength with a late surge as Aaron Appidangoye first headed in the equaliser before substitute, Bonaventure Sokambi, netted twice in injury time. The Central Africans finished the group on seven points to claim first spot and will face Libya in their quarterfinal tie at Peter Mokaba Stadium on Sunday. The Democratic Republic of Congo (six points) were the other team to progress and will line up against Ghana in the last eight. “Even at 2-2, which we knew meant we had qualified, we wanted more because our aim was to win and be on top of the group. So we went in search for the win,” said Bounguendza. “We meet Libya in the next round now and we will be ready for them.” Meanwhile, little Mauritania showed plenty of potential and a fighting spirit despite losing all three games in South Africa. Their coach Patrice Neveu said: “It has been a learning experience despite losing all three games. But I cannot fault the players for trying and we leave Chan with our heads held high. “I would have liked us to finish with at least a point from this tournament, which l believe we at least deserved for all the hard work,” said the Frenchman.