LIBREVILLE, Gabon – Juary Soares scored a late equaliser and debutant qualifiers Guinea-Bissau stunned hosts Gabon with a 1-1 draw in the opening match of Africa Cup of Nations 2017 here in Libreville on Saturday.
Gabon grabbed the lead in the 52nd minute when captain and leading striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned home a cross-shot from Denis Bouanga from very close range.
Aubameyang also squandered a good chance inside the box late in the game when the Borussia Dortmund forward volleyed over the crossbar.
Still, the host nation looked well on its way to securing the three points until Guinea-Bissau stunned the home supporters with a late equalising goal.
Guinea-Bissau were awarded a free-kick in Gabon’s half of the field and it led to Soares heading home past the goalkeeper off the set piece situation delivery from Zézinho.
“This is a moment of joy for us,” said Guinea-Bissau coach, Baciro Cande, according to AFP News agency. “Despite our country’s difficulties we managed to qualify”
“We knew Gabon have an excellent team and the best player in Africa and in Europe,” he added.
“We have our limits, but we had ambitions coming here and we will try to go as far as possible.”
The home supporters jeered loudly at the end of the game, as they felt think Gabon didn’t do enough to secure the win.
At the same time, though, it was a great point for Guinea-Bissau who were picked to finish last in the group.
Gabon (0) 1 (Aubameyang 52′)
Guinea-Bissau (0) 1 (Juary Soares 90+1′)
Gabon: Ovono; Palun, E.Manga, Appindangoye, Obiang – Tandjingora (Poko 84′), Lemina (Kanga 73′), Ndong – Evouna (Aboué 88′), Aubameyang, Bouanga
Guinea-Bissau: Jonas; Dabo, Juary, Rudinilson, Soares – Zezinho, Santos (Aldair 75′), Nanissio, Brito – Camara (F.Mendy 66′), Mario (Piqueti 62′)