Africa Cup of Nations - Group E
Sierra LeoneSierra Leone0Equatorial GuineaEquatorial Guinea1

Afcon 2021: Equatorial Guinea progress at expense of Sierra Leone

By Rob StevensBBC Sport Africa
Pablo Ganet and Equatorial Guinea celebrate his goal against Sierra Leone
Equatorial Guinea go through as Group E runners-up

Equatorial Guinea reached the last 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations after beating Sierra Leone 1-0 - a result which eliminated the Leone Stars.

Midfielder Pablo Ganet curled in from the edge of the area to net the only goal seven minutes before the break.

Sierra Leone had needed a point to progress, but veteran striker Kei Kamara saw an 84th-minute penalty saved by Jesus Owono.

The Equatoguineans finish second in Group E behind Ivory Coast.

Juan Micha's side will now face the winner of Group F - any one of The Gambia, Mali and Tunisia - on Wednesday, 26 January.

The late missed penalty was harsh on Kamara, the 37-year-old who had scored the winner against Benin last June which had secured Sierra Leone's qualification for the tournament.

Heartbreak for Kamara

Jesus Owono saves Kei Kamara's penalty
Jesus Owono kept his second clean sheet of the tournament with his penalty save

Former Norwich City and Middlesbrough man Kamara took the responsibility from 12 yards after Ganet had brought down Issa Kallon, but Owonu launched himself to his left to claw his attempt past the post.

The Leone Stars, making their first appearance at the Nations Cup since 1996, had drawn their first two games against defending champions Algeria and two-time winners Ivory Coast to give themselves a chance of going through.

Yet they struggled to create meaningful chances in Limbe, although Steven Caulker headed across goal and wide just after the hour mark as they sought an equaliser.

Sierra Leone had Kwame Quee sent off late on for a second bookable offence and their result, coupled with Algeria's 3-1 defeat by Ivory Coast, means Tunisia and debutants Comoros are guaranteed their own spots in the knock-out stages.

Equatoguineas maintain qualification run

Finishing second behind Ivory Coast continues Equatorial Guinea's proud record of always progressing past the group stage on their appearances at the Nations Cup.

The Nzalang Nacional (National Thunder) were quarter-finalists on their debut as co-hosts in 2012 before finishing fourth three years later as sole organisers.

Micha's well-organised side had upset Algeria in their second group outing, and Ganet's first-time strike was a true moment of quality after he was fed by Iban Salvador.

Salvador, industrious throughout, thought he had a chance to seal the match from an injury-time penalty after being brought down by Mohamed Buya Turay as Equatorial Guinea mounted a late counter-attack.

But, following a video assistant referee review, the foul was adjudged to have been just outside the area, and the Fuenlabrada midfielder took the ball to the corner.

Sierra Leone 'stand by Kamara'

Sierra Leone defender Steven Caulker told BBC Sport Africa:

"Most of us are here because of Kei. He is our ringleader and everything to us.

"We stand by him.

"He scored the penalty to get us here in the first place. And he was brave enough to step up and take this penalty.

"We gave it everything as a team and as a unit. We gave it everything until the end and go away with our heads held high."


Sierra Leone

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Nbalie Kamara
  • 2Kakay
  • 17Bangura
  • 5CaulkerBooked at 71mins
  • 3WrightBooked at 71minsSubstituted forKallonat 75'minutes
  • 6Kamara
  • 27DumbuyaSubstituted forBuya Turayat 45'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 7QueeBooked at 90mins
  • 10Kamara
  • 19BunduSubstituted forKamaraat 53'minutes
  • 28KamaraBooked at 23mins


  • 4Kamara
  • 8Fofanah
  • 9Williams
  • 11Kaikai
  • 12Kamara
  • 13Kargbo
  • 14Buya Turay
  • 15Dunia
  • 16Sesay
  • 20Mansaray
  • 22Kallon
  • 23Caulker

Equatorial Guinea

Formation 4-4-1-1

  • 1Owono Ngua Akeng
  • 15Akapo MartínezBooked at 61mins
  • 21Orozco Fernández Obiang Obono
  • 16Coco-Bassey Oubiña
  • 11Owono Nchama
  • 6Salvador Edú
  • 22Ganet
  • 8MachínBooked at 64minsSubstituted forBuyla Samat 64'minutes
  • 17Miranda BoachoBooked at 76minsSubstituted forBelimaat 88'minutes
  • 4Bikoro Akieme NchamaSubstituted forNlavo Asuéat 64'minutes
  • 18Hanza MehaSubstituted forNsueat 75'minutes


  • 2Mayé
  • 5Anvene Ebang Elá
  • 7Belima
  • 9Siafá Etoha
  • 10Nsue
  • 12Magno Mba Bicoro
  • 14Buyla Sam
  • 19Nlavo Asué
  • 20Eneme Bocari
  • 23Meseguer
  • 24Balboa Bandeira
  • 28Nsue Ntugu Akele
Mohamed Maarouf Eid Mansour

Match Stats

Home TeamSierra LeoneAway TeamEquatorial Guinea
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sierra Leone 0, Equatorial Guinea 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sierra Leone 0, Equatorial Guinea 1.

  3. Booking

    Mohamed Buya Turay (Sierra Leone) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  4. Post update

    VAR Decision: No Penalty Equatorial Guinea.

  5. Post update

    Iban Salvador (Equatorial Guinea) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Mohamed Buya Turay (Sierra Leone).

  7. Dismissal

    Second yellow card to Kwame Quee (Sierra Leone) for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Iban Salvador (Equatorial Guinea) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Pablo Ganet.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Equatorial Guinea. Rubén Belima replaces Josete Miranda.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Emilio Nsue (Equatorial Guinea) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Josete Miranda following a fast break.

  11. Post update

    Offside, Equatorial Guinea. Jannick Buyla tries a through ball, but Emilio Nsue is caught offside.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jannick Buyla (Equatorial Guinea) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Emilio Nsue with a headed pass.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Sierra Leone. Conceded by Jesús Owono.

  14. Post update

    Penalty saved! Kei Kamara (Sierra Leone) fails to capitalise on this great opportunity, right footed shot saved in the bottom right corner.

  15. Post update

    Penalty conceded by Pablo Ganet (Equatorial Guinea) after a foul in the penalty area.

  16. Post update

    Penalty Sierra Leone. Issa Kallon draws a foul in the penalty area.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Sierra Leone. Conceded by Basilio Ndong.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Luís Nlavo (Equatorial Guinea) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Pablo Ganet.

  19. Post update

    Esteban Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by John Kamara (Sierra Leone).

As It Stood


2Burkina Faso31113304
3Cape Verde31112204








1Ivory Coast32106337
2Equatorial Guinea32012116
3Sierra Leone302123-12


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