Equatorial Guinea secure a spot in Afcon quarterfinals

Rank outsiders Equatorial Guinea reached the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals on Wednesday and eliminated Senegal with a shock 2-1 triumph at rain-soaked Estadio de Bata.

Iban ‘Randy’ Iyanga put a team ranked 151 in the world ahead on 62 minutes, Moussa Sow equalised a minute from time but David Alvarez snatched the winner four minutes into stoppage time.

Defender Alvarez, who plays Spanish third-tier football, had a night to remember as he created the opening goal with a pin point cross before rifling home the winner after the ball was cut back to him outside the box.

The one-time 125/1 outsiders and tournament co-hosts have a maximum six points and a draw with Zambia in Malabo on Sunday will ensure a team that hired Brazilian coach Gilson Paulo less than three weeks ago top the final table.

Victorious captain Juvenal said: “We were a little lucky to score the second goal in the last few seconds. It’s fantastic for us and our supporters. We’re very hopeful for the future.

“Now we want to beat Zambia in our last match because we want to finish top of the group.”

Senegal coach Amara Traore commented: “I congratulate Equatorial Guinea for qualifying.

‘Came here to make an impact’
“As for us, we tried everything, I’m content for my players, they gave their all. I am frustrated though, as we came here to make an impact.”

Only the red carding of defender Laurence Doe just before the final whistle cast a dampener over the Equatoguineans after defeating a team 108 places higher on the world rankings.

Zambia and Libya are also in contention for a knockout place with the Copper Bullets holding a three-point lead after a thrilling 2-2 draw in the first half of a double-header that nearly did not take place because of torrential rain.

Equatorial Guinea stuck with the team that snatched a late winner over Libya in the opening match of the tournament last weekend, meaning no starting place for team captain Rodolfo Bodipo.

Senegal coach Amara Traore axed three of the team beaten by Zambia four days ago, including veteran captain and striker Mamadou Niang, with Sow and Remi Gomis the others.

Centre-back Kader Mangane was given the armband and into the Teranga Lions line-up came Issiar Dia, Dame N’Doye and recent Newcastle United recruit Papiss Demba Cisse.

Dia from Turkish club giants Fenerbahce proved an inspired choice as he was a constant irritant to the Equatoguinean defence down the right flank, showing speed and skill in the area of the pitch worst affected by an earlier downpour.

Threatening position
While clubless Coundoul hardly touched the ball, Brazil-born opposite number Danilo was kept busy as the visitors sought to break through at the 35 000-seat stadium in this port city.

A surging Dia run that ended with a superb clearing tackle from Laurence Doe signalled the intent of the Lions and Cisse came close when his close range lob was tipped over.

Cisse was let down by a poor first touch when in a threatening position before Demba Ba wasted the best chance of the half by sidefooting wide a Dia cross when he should at least have hit the target.

When Danilo handled a long back pass from captain Juvenal Edjogo, he was cautioned and Senegal awarded a free kick inside the penalty area that they wasted with a kick straight at the wall.

It was a different story after half-time with Equatorial Guinea pressing forward more and the predominantly Equatoguinean crowd erupted on 62 minutes when Iyanga nodded the home team ahead.

Sow stunned the crowd by firing into the net a minute from time after a fierce goalmouth scramble following a free kick only for Alvarez to snatch the winner and send the tiny central African country into a frenzy of joy. — AFP

Yann Bernal
Yann Bernal works from Paris. Journaliste à l'AFP (desk nocturno-international, ex-rubrique du Sporroi). Mes tweets n'engagent pas mon employeur. Yann Bernal has over 420 followers on Twitter.
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