Gabon outclass Niger

2012-01-23 20:06
Pierre Emerick Aubameyang (File)

Libreville - Gabon galloped to a 2-0 win over outclassed debutants Niger here on Monday to get their Africa Cup of Nations campaign off to the ideal start.

The 2012 co-hosts took a potentially major step towards a quarter-final berth with first half headers from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Stephane Nguema.

The venue for Monday's Group C double header, Morocco faced Tunisia later, was the brand new L'Amitie stadium.

The 40 000-seater ground was hastily built by the Chinese as 'plan B' after work on restoring Gabon's national stadium, originally intended as the venue for Cup games in Libreville, began too late.

Gabon coach Gernot Rohr elected to start with former captain Daniel Cousin, returning after a lengthy lay-off, on the bench with his attack led instead by French-based duo Aubameyang and Eric Mouloungui.

Gabon, who beat Cameroon in their opening game in 2010 but failed to make the last eight, were quick out of the blocks, winning three corners with the sound of the starting whistle still hanging in the hot and humid equatorial air.

Niger's defence was at sixes and sevens in the face of the onslaught, keeper Kassaly Daouda the busiest man on the field.

Niger, experiencing a baptism of fire on their Cup debut, were having trouble getting a slice of the action, their frustration boiling over in the 22nd minute when Issoufou Alhassane Dante sliced down Charly Moussono, earning him a booking.

Gabon got just reward for their dominance in the 30th minute when the omnipresent Aubameyang rose to head home at a tight angle Nguema's cross from the right wing.

Niger coach Harouna Doula made what looked like a tactical substitution when replacing striker Dante with midfielder Yacouba Ali, but on the stroke of half-time Gabon had doubled their advantage.

Nguema was the man responsible, heading in from close range after Daouda had been unable to hold on to Aubameyang's own header.

Gabon's No 1 fan, President Ali Bongo and his First lady sporting the country's yellow shirt, joined the rest of the crowd in leaping ecstatically out of their seats.

The tempo inevitably descended a few notches after the restart, as conditions began to take their toll, the play becoming disjointed as Gabon took up almost permanent resident right's in Niger's half.

Niger's sole chance came in the final ten minutes when Ouwo Moussa Maazou headed low into Gabon skipper and keeper Didier Ovono's hands.

Read more on:    afcon 2012


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Bafana Bafana have been drawn with Cameroon, Gambia and Mauritania in the qualification stages for the 2017 AFCON tournament. Where will Shakes Mashaba's men finish in their pool?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


30 of the world's greatest golfers will be heading to the Gary Player Country Club for this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge - now in its 35th year. For all the latest news, player profiles, hole-by-hole descriptions and past winners, be sure to check out Sport24's dedicated section.

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.