Equatorial Guinea Stun Hosts Cote d’Ivoire With Emphatic 4-0 win

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Equatorial Guinea caused one of the upsets of the tournament with a 4-0 annihilation of the tournament hosts in the Group A match on Monday. Nzalang Nacional produced a seismic shock in world football by thrashing the Elephants in the game played at Ebimpe’s Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium.

In what should be one of the games of the competition, the minnows ripped apart the fancied Ivorians thanks to a Emilio Nsue double, goals from Pablo Ganet, and Jannick Buyla. Nsue’s brace extended his lead on the goal scoring charts to five; along with strikes by Pablo Ganet and Jannick Bulya that saw Equatorial Guinea stun the world of football.

The Nzalang Nacional advanced to the knock out stage of the tournament as it finished top of the group; even though the team is level on seven points with second-placed Nigeria. The result left the home side’s chances of progressing to the knock-out phase hanging by a thread as they finish it place in Group A.

The humiliating defeat means the Elephants must now wait to discover if they have progressed to the knock out phase of the tournament. The four best third-placed sides across the six groups progressed to the last 16. But for Equatorial Guinea, this famous four-goal demolition group tops Group A ahead of its highly fancied opponents Nigeria, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Having lowered the boast of one of Africa’s strongest sides, the minnows from central Africa have suddenly emerged as giant-killers. They will face a third-placed side from Group C, D, or E in the last 16 on Sunday. Their best performance at an AFCON tournament was reaching the semi-finals as hosts in 2015 but they finished above three-time champions Nigeria and the Ivorians, two-time winners, in an unexpected twist.

“We knew that the opponent had a lot of pressure, we took that into account when putting our strategy in place. With our humility, we made the effort to reach as far as possible. We are working to reach the level of the big guys. What we want is to do our job, believe in ourselves, and try to win every time.” Juan Micha, Equatorial Guinean coach said in his post-match reactions.

“Regarding Cote d’Ivoire, I am hurt because it is the organizing country but, it is football. I believe that the objective is to go through the different stages until the end. We must forget this match and plan for the rest of the competition.” He added.

Coach of the Elephants, Jean-Louis Gasset is still hopeful his side will qualify to the next round despite the heavy loss. “There are sometimes nightmare matches, matches where everything seems to be against you. We conceded a goal in the first half on the opponent’s only opportunity. We score goals which are disallowed; we have witnessed a perfect disaster.

“We have three points, and we won a match; the four best third places are qualified, we will hope, he said. He takes full responsibility of his team’s performance. “We have an efficiency problem. In 180 minutes we didn’t score a goal, and yet we made substitutes to have more attackers. Today the result was catastrophic, I know that I am the main responsible person.”

Ivory Coast will have to wait for the rest of the groups to finish on Wednesday to see if the three points and a goal difference of -3 is enough to sneak the team through to the knockout stages. Hope of progressing was boosted after Group B drew to a close later on Monday, when Ghana finished its campaign at third place in the table on two points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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