- – Review of last night’s AFCON matches; Tanzania 3-0 Morocco, DR Congo 1-1 Zambia
- – Preview of what’s in store tonight; Equatorial Guinea vs Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast vs Nigeria, Ghana vs Egypt
Tanzania experienced the full might of Morocco, who effortlessly secured their Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 victory in their Group F opener, placing them at the top of their group. To put things into perspective, Tanzania only managed to produce two off-target shots during the encounter.
The final blow came with Novatus Mishori’s red card in the 70th minute, reducing Taifa Stars to ten men against the relentless red wave of attacks launched by the Atlas Lions.
And it’s not that Morocco got the lion’s share of possession; Tanzania had 48%, with almost a similar number of passes (449) completed and accuracy (83%) compared to Morocco’s 465 passes completed and 86% pass accuracy.
So, what went wrong? Nothing, really; it’s not about how much of the ball you have but rather what you do with it. A fair analysis would probably have the scoreline much higher in Morocco’s favour, especially when considering the several near-miss chances.
Neighbours DR Congo and Zambia then graced the AFCON stage revealing their offerings in the football showpiece in Cote d’Ivoire. Zambia took advantage of sloppy defence from Congo — and perhaps some rather controversial refereeing on the night — to score against the run of play in the first half.
Despite a strong start to the game and generally outstanding performances by their attack, Congo was unable to capitalize on the endless opportunities created, finding themselves trailing.
The Chipolopolo, with only three shots and one on target, paled in comparison to DR Congo’s 25 shots, six on target, showcasing the exemplary performance of the Congolese team. Congo’s passing accuracy (88%) and dominant possession (57%), along with seven corners, were the result of a highly effective high press used against Zambia.
Cedric Bakambu was the standout player, although Brentford’s Yoann Wissa’s name appeared on the scoresheet. The Galatasaray forward skillfully chested, controlled, and delivered the ball to set up Wissa for a cool, calm, and collected finish.
Tonight’s games mark the beginning of matchday 2, with Group A returning to the field.
Here are the exciting games lined up tonight;
Fixtures (In East African Time)
Equatorial Guinea vs Guinea-Bissau – 17:00 EAT
Venue: Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé
With both teams receiving red cards in their opening games, both tacticians will need to revamp their squads and will be hoping for redemption.
Guinea-Bissau occupies the bottom position in their group, while Equatorial Guinea is in second place with just one point to their name. It’s a do-or-die situation for Guinea-Bissau in this match.
Cote d’ivoire vs Nigeria – 20:00 EAT
Venue: Olympic Stadium of Ebimpé
Likely the highlight of tonight’s action, hosts Cote d’Ivoire take on Nigeria. The Super Eagles were unable to earn maximum points from their opener and will be weary of the Elephants who are in fine form.
Ghana vs Egypt – 23:00 EAT
Venue: Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium
After being surprised by minnows Cape Verde, Ghana will be licking their wounds and aiming to redeem themselves against Egypt. However, Mo Salah, Trezeguet, and others may thwart their efforts and compound their woes, as Egypt also seeks points to secure group stage qualification.
Carlos Rui Vitoria will desire nothing more than a win to secure the top position in the group, currently held by Cape Verde. The memory of losing to Senegal in the AFCON 2021 final serves as ample motivation to propel them forward.
It’s gonna be hot tonight in Abidjan (no pun intended).
See you there!