Saturday, June 15, 2013

Burkina Faso 1 - Congo 0; Gabon 4 - Niger 1

A game at home to Burkina Faso in Pointe-Noire was the first of two chances Congo would have to clinch the Group E title.  However, a Burkinabe victory would maintain hope not only for Burkina Faso, but also for Gabon.  Congo had the first dangerous attack of the half as an attempted cross tailed away and struck the Burkinabe crossbar before bouncing away.  Congo goalkeeper Barel Mouko nearly gave away a goal by trying to save a high-velocity, chest-high back pass from going out of bounds.  Luckily for Mouko, he was able to block the shot that came from the rebound as Congo avoided disaster.  Fabrice Nguessi led a charge for Congo up the right side.  He slotted a pass to the top of the box, but Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite made a sliding save to his left.  Aristide Bance (pictured, green) scored a goal late in the half for Burkina Faso from eleven yards out, and then struck another ball off the crossbar just before the end of the opening period.  Burkina Faso led 1-0 at the halftime whistle.

Very late in the second half, the Burkinabe nearly doubled their lead.  Burkina Faso pulled out Congo's goalkeeper before laying a ball across the box, but the shot on the vacated net was blocked by a kick save from a Congolese defender.  Nevertheless, Burkina Faso win 1-0 and maintain life in the chase for round three.

If you did not think you would see the day when a player scored a hat trick in a FIFA World Cup match on penalty kicks alone, it is time to update your world view.  Gabon pulled off the odd feat today in a home match against Niger in Libreville.  They did so in comeback fashion, however, as Niger took a lead just before the quarter hour mark through Yacouba Seydou.  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang began his odd penalty kick hat trick with two minutes left in the half, which ended 1-1.

The final ten minutes were an extremely messy affair.  Niger lost Kofi Dankwae to his second yellow card in minute 80, but Gabon countered with an Eric Mouloungui red three minutes later.  Not to be outdone, Niger responded with a straight red to Kourouma Fatoukouma three minutes after that, and suddenly Gabon were at the penalty spot again.  Aubameyang converted to give Gabon a 2-1 lead in a match where they had ten men and their opponents had only nine.  Deep into stoppage time, Gabon scored not once, but twice.  Bruno Ecuele had one from open play, but Aubameyang finished off his hat trick and the match with his third penalty conversion.  Gabon win 4-1.

In a fair world, Burkina Faso would win the group in September with a win at home against Gabon, but the world is not fair so now the Burkinabe will have to pull hard for Niger to get a result against Congo come September.

Congo 10 pts +4
Burkina 9 pts +2
Gabon 7 pts 0
Niger OUT

Burkina Faso
Aristide Bance 38

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 43 PK, 87 PK, 90+8 PK
Bruno Ecuele 90+7

Yacouba Seydou 14

Match Reports:

Highlights: (Burkina Faso v. Congo)

No comments: