Gabon, the host of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2017, painfully left the tournament following a 0-0 draw with Cameroon, which progressed to the quarter-finals, Sunday night.
The hosts missed a couple of clear scoring chances in the early stages of the game — much to the disappointment of thousands of home fans who stayed on their feet throughout the match.
Gabon’s forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang squandered a great opportunity to give his side an early lead in the starting minutes, when he bundled the ball wide just two yards from the goal post.
His colleague Denis Bouanga kept challenging the Cameroonian goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa with top-class shots, including a last-minute scoring chance that agonizingly rebounded off of the post.
His teammate Didier N’Dong capitalized on the rebound, but his efforts were frustrated by Ondoa who brilliantly sent the shot above the bar, burying Gabon’s hopes of going through to the knock-out phase.
Gabon had to win this match in order to secure a place in the quarter-finals from Group A; however, a third consecutive draw put them in the third position after Cameroon, which finished the group stage with five points.
The Indomitable Lions fought tooth and nail to deny Gabon the three points, with their left back, Ambroise Oyongo, coming close to putting Gabon out of its misery with a shot that clipped the post.
It was a fairly entertaining match, especially in the first half, when the hosts poured in to their opponent’s half, giving their fans something to celebrate.
Gabon’s colorful striker Aubameyang, who plays for Borussia Dortmund in Europe will — once again — have to blame himself for letting down his team, after he failed to convert what many have termed a “bread and butter” opportunity.
In the AFCON 2012 tournament, Aubameyang was blamed for missing a crucial penalty that cost his side a place in the semi-finals.
Watch highlights of the Cameroon vs. Gabon match here:
The Stallions Rise
As Gabon struggled to find its much-needed break, Burkina Faso was having a field day against their Group A rivals Guinea-Bissau. The match ended 2-0 to Burkina Faso, a result that placed it at the top of the group ahead of Cameroon by goal difference.
Watch highlights of the Burkina Faso vs. Guinea-Bissau match here:
Monday, Zimbabwe will fight for a place in the quarter-finals when it faces off with Tunisia, while Algeria will battle it out with Senegal in Group B matches that will kick off at 2:00 p.m. CAT.