Match ends, Gabon 1, Guinea-Bissau 1.
Afcon 2017: Guinea-Bissau shock hosts Gabon to secure draw
Debutants and shock qualifiers Guinea-Bissau stunned hosts Gabon by pulling off a 1-1 draw in the opening match of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.
Juary Soares scored the equaliser for the Wild Dogs with a diving header from a free-kick in the 90th minute.
Gabon had taken the lead on 52 minutes when superstar Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned in Denis Bouanga's cross-shot.
Home fans jeered loudly at the end, making their discontent evident.
But the draw was no more than a spirited Guinea-Bissau side deserved as they frustrated their opponents throughout and took their chance to continue what has been a fairytale run in getting to the finals.
Few predicted they would take anything from their group games at the tournament but they arguably looked the more dangerous side in a game that only livened up after half-time.
While Aubaemyang showed his predatory instincts to finish off Bouanga's ball across the face of the box, the Dortmund striker was less clinical when he volleyed over on 69 minutes.
It would have doubled Gabon's lead and might have ended Guinea-Bissau's resistance. Instead, they fought back and began to impose themselves on the game.
A clear chance came on 83 minutes but substitute Frederic Mendy headed straight at goalkeeper Didier Ovono and it seemed they would have to be content with a brave defeat.
But when they won another free-kick, Soares connected brilliantly to send his side into raptures.
In the group's later game, Burkina Faso drew 1-1 with Cameroon.
After going 1-0 down to the hosts, Guinea-Bissaumight have folded. But the tournament debutants continued to plug away and, if they show the same grit and determination, they may pull off a few more surprises.
They pressed high, snapped into their tackles and former Everton youth player Junior Francisco particularly caught the eye on his first cap, prowling the midfield and breaking up play effectively.
Toni Silva, once at Liverpool, also impressed, showing glimpses of skill and creativity - if he grows in confidence he could be a key figure for the team.
Hosts Gabon must improve
Largely pedestrian, perhaps suffering from nerves, but most definitely below the level of performance the home crowd - and manager Jose Antonio Camacho - expect of them.
Having a world-class striker in Aubemayang will only get Gabon so far. While he was not at his very best, service to him was poor. And Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina was particularly disappointing.
The moment that summed up the Panthers perfectly came when Merlin Tandjigora swiped at a clearance, completely missed the ball and clattered Francisco Junior. So wild and inept it was comical. Gabon need to find their timing and rhythm - fast.
What the managers said
Guinea Bissau coach Baciro Cande: "We are very, very happy. Now we have the motivation to go as far as possible."
Gabon coach Jose Antonio Camacho: "It's very difficult to win the first match in these tournaments. For the next match we have to fight tooth and nail."
- 5Ecuele Manga
- 6ObiangBooked at 66mins
- 4TandjigoraSubstituted forBiyogo Pokoat 84'minutes
- 7EvounaSubstituted forAboue Angoueat 88'minutes
- 10LeminaSubstituted forKangaat 73'minutes
- 14Aboue Angoue
- 16Mfa Mezui
- 17Biyogo Poko
- 19Ze Ondo
- 23Bitseki Moto
- 4Soares Dabó
- 16SoaresBooked at 76mins
- 11Mendes Soares
- 8Francisco JúniorSubstituted forDjalo Baldéat 74'minutes
- 15Brito Silva Sa
- 7Mendes Lopes
- 19Nunes FernandesSubstituted forBrito Silvaat 61'minutes
- 9Issa CamaráSubstituted forMendyat 66'minutes
- 6Mendes Umpeça
- 18Brito Silva
- 21Djalo Baldé
- 23Camara Dabó
- Ghead Grisha
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Gabon 1, Guinea-Bissau 1.
Foul by Serge Kevyn Aboue Angoue (Gabon).
Nanissio (Guinea-Bissau) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Goal! Gabon 1, Guinea-Bissau 1. Juary Soares (Guinea-Bissau) header from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Zézinho following a set piece situation.
Foul by Guélor Kanga (Gabon).
Zézinho (Guinea-Bissau) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Andre Biyogo Poko (Gabon).
Nanissio (Guinea-Bissau) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Substitution, Gabon. Serge Kevyn Aboue Angoue replaces Malick Evouna.
Foul by Denis Bouanga (Gabon).
Agostinho Soares (Guinea-Bissau) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Hand ball by Denis Bouanga (Gabon).
Hand ball by Piqueti (Guinea-Bissau).
Offside, Gabon. Didier Ndong tries a through ball, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Frederic Mendy (Guinea-Bissau) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Zézinho.
Substitution, Gabon. Andre Biyogo Poko replaces Merlin Tandjigora.
Foul by Merlin Tandjigora (Gabon).
Aldair (Guinea-Bissau) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Offside, Gabon. Merlin Tandjigora tries a through ball, but Malick Evouna is caught offside.
Didier Ndong (Gabon) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Nanissio (Guinea-Bissau).
Foul by Denis Bouanga (Gabon).
Aldair (Guinea-Bissau) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Denis Bouanga (Gabon) because of an injury.
Delay in match Zézinho (Guinea-Bissau) because of an injury.
Aaron Appindangoyé (Gabon) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Frederic Mendy (Guinea-Bissau).
Dangerous play by Malick Evouna (Gabon).
Juary Soares (Guinea-Bissau) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Agostinho Soares (Guinea-Bissau) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Denis Bouanga (Gabon) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Agostinho Soares (Guinea-Bissau).
Attempt missed. Rudinilson Silva (Guinea-Bissau) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Agostinho Soares following a corner.
Substitution, Guinea-Bissau. Aldair replaces Francisco Júnior.
Corner, Guinea-Bissau. Conceded by Aaron Appindangoyé.
Attempt blocked. Piqueti (Guinea-Bissau) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Tomás Dabó.
Substitution, Gabon. Guélor Kanga replaces Mario Lemina.
Attempt saved. Toni Silva (Guinea-Bissau) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tomás Dabó.