Burundi, Gabon share spoils
Polokwane - Gabon were left frustrated after being unable to break down a stubborn Burundi defence, in their African Nations Championship Group D match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Tuesday night.
The 0-0 stalemate was a disappointing and lacklustre affair after which the Swallows of Burundi, currently ranked 124th on the Fifa list, would have been the far happier of the two. Gabon had almost all of the play but never really looked like finding the net.
The first half saw Gabon, 84th on the Fifa rankings, dominating the possession stakes, although for the most part they were unable to breach a resolute Burundi defence.
The Panthers appeared too rushed in their attacks, with no one taking the time to get their foot on the ball and make the telling passes that were needed.
Instead, long hopeful balls were hit towards the big target man Daniel Cousin, who was not always able to retain possession when surrounded by a host of defenders.
Chances were rare in the first half with the first real opportunity arriving on the half hour mark when Cousin hit a long range volley just over the bar.
A minute later, there was a double chance for Gabon which ended in Steven Ngonga's header being cleared off the line and Swallows goalkeeper Arthur Aracaza beaten.
The Panthers had the next chance too when Cousin brought down the ball on his chest and brushed off a defender before looking to stab the ball past Aracaza. The keeper made an extremely brave save as he came flying out at the feet of the former Hull City front man.
The second half started with yet another chance for the burly Cousin, this time the FC Sapins striker dragged a shot wide after being teed up on the edge of the area.
Gabon continued to push and probe but failed to find proper openings, while Burundi were happy to soak up pressure before unleashing lone front man Abdoul Fiston who, for the most part, found himself isolated and without the ball.
The ball was finally in the net in the final minute of regulation time, but Samson Mbingui was to have his headed goal ruled out for what was correctly deemed to be offside -- the moment just about summing up a game which never really got going.