As day two of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations is a wrap, Futbalgalore.com.ng recaps all the action, featuring Senegal, Morocco, Ghana, and Gabon.

Group B:

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations day two kicked off with a thrilling last-minute victory for last edition’s runner-ups Senegal over Zimbabwe at Kouekong Stadium.

Senegal XI: Seny Dieng, Pape Cisse, Gana Gueye, Keita Balde, Cheikhou Kouyate, Boulaye Dia, Sadio Mane, Fode Ballo, Bouna Sarr, Ibrahima Mbaye, Abdou Diallo.

Zimbabwe XI: Petros Mhari, Kelvin Madzongwe, John Takwara, Ishmael Wadi, Leroy J Benyu, Bruce Kangwa, Onismor Bhasera, Teenage Lingani, Knowledge Musona, Prince Mpumelelu, Gilroy Chimwemwe.

Senegal were clear favorites from the beginning despite missing Mendy and Koulibaly who tested positive for COVID-19; however, and against all odds, Zimbabwe gave them a run for their money with a heroic performance.

The 121st ranked held their own for more than ninety minutes and could have earned themselves a historic point if it wasn’t for a last-gasp penalty following a handball inside the box.

Liverpool star Sadio Mane didn’t refuse the gift and scored from the spot to earn his country valuable three points at the start of the journey.

CAF’s Man of the Match: Sadio Mane (Senegal).

In the same group, another Liverpool star in Naby Keita was in the spotlight as Guinea took on Malawi in a balanced game, that was snatched by the Guineans.

Guinea XI: A.Keita; Conté, M.Camara, Sow, Sylla; Kané, Diawara, N.Keita; A.Camara, Bayo, Kanté.

Malawi XI: Kakhobwe; Chikwa, Mzava, Chembezi; Idana, P.Banda, J.Banda, Madinga, Mhone; Muyaba, Chester.

Malawi, making their first AFCON appearance since 2010, entered the game without 13 players following a Covid-19 outbreak in their camp, which led them to have just four players on the bench, including two goalkeepers.

Still, Malawi were the better side and could have scored more than once if it wasn’t for Guinea goalkeeper Aly Keita, whose heroic performance was the main reason behind the result.

Despite their dominance, Guinea were the ones to claim the victory, thanks to Issiaga Sylla’s 35th-minute winner, who scored from close range following good work in the box from Jose Kante.

Guinea now sit top of the group alongside Senegal, with both sides set to face each other next Friday while Malawi take on Zimbabwe.

CAF’s Man of the Match: Naby Keita (Guinea).

Group C:

Group C kicked with two giants clashing as Morocco faced Ghana in an early finale at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé.

Morocco XI: Bono; Mmaee, Masina, Aguerd; Hakimi, Saiss, Ounahi, Amallah; Aboukhlal, Boufal, Louz.

Ghana XI: Rahman, Amartey, Djiku, Yiadom; Paintsil, Baba, Thomas, Sulemana; A. Ayew, J. Ayew.

Following a disappointing run in the 2019 AFCON, both countries went to Cameroon looking to end a long wait for success on the African stage, with Morocco’s latest and only title coming back in 1976, six years before Ghana claimed their last of four titles in 1982.

The highlight of matchday 2 didn’t live up to the expectations and both teams failed to create many chances as the game looked set to end in a dull goalless draw.

However, with just eight minutes left on the clock, Angers’ winger Sofiane Boufal pounced on a loose ball, resulting from a sloppy Ghana defence, before finding the back of the net to hand Morocco the perfect start at the AFCON.

CAF’s Man of the Match: Sofiane Boufal (Morocco).

A couple of hours later, history was made as Comoros made their first-ever appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations against none other than Gabon, who entered the game without star men Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mario Lemina, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Comoros XI: Ali Ahamada; Abdallah, Zahary, M’Dahoma, M. Youssouf, Abdullah, Mohamed, Bakari, M’Changama, B. Youssouf, Ben Nabouhane,

Gabon XI: Amonome, Obiang, Écuélé Manga, Palun, Obissa, Biyogo Poko, Kanga, Boupendza, Ameka, Bouanga, Allevinah.

Gabon didn’t waste much time and took an early lead just 16 minutes into the game after a magnificent effort from Aaron Boupendza, who beat Ahamada from a tight angle after being played on goal by Louis Ameka Autchanga.

Comoros tried to get back into the game and nearly did so in the second half, but eventually, the game finished in an expected win for Gabon.

Patrice Neveu’s side are now level points with Morocco at the top of the group ahead of their clash with Ghana next Friday as Comoros face an almost impossible task against the Atlas Lions.

CAF’s Man of the Match: Aaron Boupendza (Gabon)

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