Late surge sees Gabon join DRC in quarters

2014-01-22 21:39

Gabon survived an early scare and made a late surge to thrash Mauritania 4-2 in a thrilling finish to their Group D African Nations Championship (Chan) clash at the Free State Stadium.

After trailing 2-1 for most of the match, the Gabonese netted three times in the last eight minutes as they leveled matters through Aaron Appidangoye and then substitute Bonaventure Sokambi finding an injury time brace.

Mauritania had twice taken the lead courtesy of an Moulaye "Bessam" Ahmed Khalil brace in the fourth and 65th minutes, respectively. Gabon briefly equalised in the seventh minute thanks to a Duval N’zembi header.

The Gabonese now go through as group winners with seven points and will line up against Libya in their quarterfinal tie in Polokwane on Sunday.

Second-placed Democratic Republic of Congo (six points) – who also came from behind to beat Burundi 2-1 in a simultaneous group fixture - will face Ghana in their last eight tie in Bloemfontein on Sunday.

Entertaining Mauritania will go home having given their opponents plenty of scares and could have won had they converted their numerous first half chances.

They leave with no points having lost all three of their matches, but would have captured the imagination of the tournament with their individual talents and the four goals scored in the group.

They made Gabon sweat for the victory as the Gabonese hit the woodwork twice in the encounter through Daniel Cousin and Nitsitsigui Ewouta. The exciting Ewouta was also denied twice in the second half by brilliant saves from Toure Boubacar in the Mauritania goal.

With nothing to lose, the bottom-placed Mauritania threw caution to the wind against the pre-game favourites and could have stretched their half-time lead even further through an El Hacen El Id freekick.

Khalil also had a goal disallowed for offside shortly before the break as Gabon gained  momentum and showed their strength in the second half to secure a convincing scoreline.

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