FULL TIME: Gabon 0 – 1Congo

  • FULL TIME: GABON 0-1 CONGO. Skipper Prince Oniangue’s goal just two minutes into the second half gives the Red Devils their first Africa Cup of Nations victory in 41 years! Congo defended admirably throughout and Gabon, with the exception of a few wasted opportunities, never did look much like scoring.
  • 90′ + 4′
    Very smart play from the Red Devils who break on a counter and get into the area. N’Ganga has a shot saved, and Bifouma collects the rebound but runs it into the corner and that will be the last action of the match!
  • 90′ + 2′
    Evouna chases down a long pass and you can see the frustration just starting to boil over as he bundles over the keeper who had come off his line to collect. No apology from the striker, either, who escapes without a booking.
  • 90′
    With all the substitutions and injuries, there will me a minimum of four minutes of stoppage time.
  • 89′
    SubstitutionFrédéric BulotJ. Lengoualama
  • 88′
    Gabon are growing frustrating as they seem to be running out of ideas. Congo get the ball up the pitch and manage to get all the way forward before putting it behind for a goal kick. Gabon have a long way to go now with the ball back inside their own penalty area.
  • 87′
    SubstitutionArnold Bouka MoutouFrancis N’ganga
  • 86′
    Gabon throwing everyone forward but are seriously lacking in creativity. Their most dangerous looking player, Madinda, is off now as well as another errant pass runs out of play allowing Congo to take time off the clock with another substitution.
  • 84′
    SubstitutionLévy Clément MadindaSamson Mbingui
  • 84′
    Everyone but Bifouma is back behind the ball for Congo. Gabon pass it around aimlessly in the final third, with no real idea behind their play. It is finally given away and Congo push it up the pitch to run more precious time off the clock.
  • 82′
    Madinda is trying to take matters into his own hands for Gabon. The midfielder makes a good run forward and cuts it into the centre. He has Evouna making a run to his left but opts to go for goal himself, failing to trouble Mafoumbi who makes a straightforward save.
  • 80′
    STAT ATTACK: Congo had been held scoreless in seven of their last nine matches at the Africa Cup of Nations before finding the back of the net in each of their first two matches in 2015. Thievy Bifouma’s marker in their opening match against Equatorial Guinea was their first goal at the competition since a 1-1 draw with Algeria in 1992.
  • 78′
    Important touch! Mafoumbi has shown little hesitation to rush off his line and the keeper is at it again to get the faintest of touches on a cross from Aubameyang to deflect it away from Evouna.
  • 76′
    Well it is Congo now who have taken charge of the match, despite being the ones in front. Dore and Bifouma link up well in the final third, but a cross into the area is eventually headed over by the latter.
  • 75′
    SubstitutionFérébory DoreC. Malonga Ntsayi
  • 74′
    Yellow Card André Biyogo Poko
  • 74′
    SubstitutionCésaire GandzéFabrice Nguessi Ondama
  • 74′
    SUPERB RUN! Ondama, just seconds after coming on, makes a wonderful run along the right, showing great strength to fend off a challenge before Poko finally takes him out from behind. That will be a yellow card for the midfielder and Congo are in no rush to take the ensuing free kick.
  • 72′
    Disappointing from Congo! They get a chance from a counter, three against three. Bifouma slides in Cesair on the right, but there is no urgency from the Red Devils players who are far too relaxed in attack as the winger’s cross – which hardly looked like it was aimed at anyone in particular – is blocked behind for a corner.
  • 70′
    Gabon have taken complete control now, but are still being held well by the Congo defensive unit. The Red Devils are committing more and more men behind the ball, leaving Bifouma and Dore very isolated up top.
  • 68′
    WIDE FROM BULOT! Oh what a chance that was for Gabon to grab an equalizer! Spectacular ball from Aubameyang through to Evouna, but Baudry rushes across to slide in. He breaks up the chance but the ball ends up at the feet of Bulot who rolls a shot wide of the near post! He really has to be scoring from there.
  • 66′
    Congo are in time wasting mode with just over 20 minutes to play. N’Dinga goes down at the slightest contact and the referee is forced to bring play to a halt. The medical staff is out to attend to the midfielder, who walks off easily under his own power.
  • 64′
    Successive corners won by Gabon, who are finally showing a bit of urgency about their play. Bulot takes and his delivery is encouraging, but Mafoumbi is fearlessly out to slap it only partially clear. Aubameyang rescues possession and delivers a short cross into the area, but Ondele sends his open header well wide of the target.
  • 62′
    STAT ATTACK: The last four meetings between Congo and Gabon have seen just two goals scored, both by Congo. The last time Gabon managed a goal against the Red Devils was back in 2007, a 2-2 draw in a friendly.
  • 60′
    We have reached the hour mark now and Gabon are still showing very few signs of life. Madinda looks like their likeliest outlet for an equalizer, but Congo have had a relatively easy go of things at the back in this second half.
  • 58′
    VITAL INTERVENTION! Good run into the area by Evouna, who cuts it back to elude the tackle of Baudry. The striker chips a clever cross towards Bulot at the far post, but Mafoumbi is off his line to snatch the ball out of the air. Good reading of the game from the goalkeeper, who plays in the French fourth division with Le Pontet.
  • 56′
    SubstitutionI. NdongG. Kanga
  • 56′
    Gabon make their first substitution of the match as midfielder Ibrahim N’Dong gives way to Guelor Kanga, who plays with Rostov in the Russian Premier League.
  • 54′
    VENOMOUS STRIKE! Gabon midfielder Andre Poko is receiving treatment on the sidelines and Congo try to take advantage. They arrive in the final third in numbers and a bouncing ball is played across the top of the area. Oniangue lashes out at it, sending a thunderous volley towards goal, but straight at Ovono who gets his arms up, in an act of self-defense, to keep the shot out.
  • 52′
    Gabon are starting to push the pace now after falling behind, though are having little success going up against this Congo defence. Aubameyang really needs to get himself more involved, or they will have a hard time finding an equalizer.
  • 50′
    STAT ATTACK: Congo are winless in their last 12 matches at the Africa Cup of Nations (D6, L6). Their last victory came over Zaire in the group stage in 1974.
  • 48′
    Goal Prince Oniangue
    Off a corner, Bouka-Moutou finally provides a good ball into the area. After N’Dinga and Evouna come together, Ecuele-Manga has a chance at a clearance but scuffs it horribly, straight into the path of the skipper Oniangue who bundles it across the line!
  • 48′
    CONGO TAKE THE LEAD WITH THEIR FIRST REAL SCORING CHANCE!
  • 46′
    Gabon get the second half underway. No changes from either side at the break, as Thievy Bifouma is out there and looking healthy as ever as he sprints forward to put the goalkeeper under a bit of pressure.
  • It will be interesting to see whether Bifouma comes out to play in the second half. He likely tested out his knee in the final minutes of that first half, but based on his initial reactions to the injury, it would be surprising to see him play the full 90 minutes.
  • HALF TIME: GABON 0-0 CONGO. We are still looking for the first goal of the day in Group A action, though it does not look like their are many to be had in this game after 45 minutes. Quality has been lacking from both sides in the final third, with chances few and far between. Everything still to play for in the second half, but Congo or Gabon will need to be better if they hope to claim all three points.
  • 45′ + 2′
    Aubameyang and Madinda stand over it, but it is the Dortmund forward who takes. His shot gets over the wall, but lacks pace and is too close to Mafoumbi who keeps it out before it is headed clear. That will do it for the first half!
  • 45′ + 1′
    Yellow Card B. Moubhio
  • 45′ + 1′
    A handball by Moubhio results in the first booking of the match and a big chance for Gabon to take the lead before the break from 25 yards out…
  • 45′
    There will be a minimum of one minute added on at the end of the first half.
  • 43′
    Miraculously, Bifouma is back on the pitch, but does seem to be moving a bit gingerly. Congo win another corner through Dore, but the seemingly injured striker will not be the one to deliver. It is Bouka-Moutou who crosses in, but it is sent straight into the arms of Ovono who makes the simplest of catches.
  • 41′
    SUPERB SKILL! Play continues with Congo down a man, and Gabon nearly make them pay. Madinda makes a run into the area and gets on the end of a pass. He shows excellent control and technique to beat two defenders, but drags his shot just wide of the far post! That is the closest we have come to a goal in this first half.
  • 39′
    UH OH! Worrying moments for Congo as Thievy Bifouma is down an in significant pain. He just pulled up lame as he tried to win the ball and goes down clutching his left knee. The striker waves to the sideline for help and the stretcher comes out to take him off the pitch. This certainly does not look good for them!
  • 37′
    CLOSE CALL! Aubameyang sends a lovely ball between the two Congo centre-backs to send Evouna through on goal, but the flag is up for offside. It was very close, but the replay shows it was the right one as the striker just mistimed his run.
  • 35′
    Strong work from Dore, who chases down a pass from Cesaire and puts Obiang under pressure. The striker does well to body him off the ball, winning his side a corner. The ensuing delivery is dreadful, though, as the cross is over everyone’s head, running out of play for a goal kick.
  • 33′
    STAT ATTACK: Gabon did not lose a single match in qualifying (W3, D3). They kept three clean sheets over that span and failed to score only once. Malick Evouna was their leading scorer with three goals.
  • 31′
    There is a slight delay now as Dore is down for Congo. The striker took an innocent arm to the face from Gabon and Celta Vigo midfielder Levy Madinda. The medical staff is out to patch him up, but he will be fine to continue.
  • 29′
    A free kick in a threatening position for Congo comes to nothing as Ovono takes command of his area to run off his line and fist away Bifouma’s cross. It was an important clearance from the goalkeeper as Moubhio was lurking at the far post.
  • 27′
    You can feel the tension out on the pitch, as neither side wants to concede. A victory would go a long way to helping both teams reach the knockout round, while a defeat would be detrimental. That is showing, as Congo and Gabon remain reluctant to commit too many men forward.
  • 25′
    Both teams do look eager to get into attack and find an opener, but quality has been well below-standard in the final third. Neither team has managed to pick out a good final ball or attempt on target, with the keepers having a relatively easy go of things thus far.
  • 23′
    Lovely pass! Aubameyang, who has yet to really make his presence felt, finally bursts into space along the right. He does incredibly well to spot the run of midfielder Andre Poko, but his first-time shot is poor as it lifts well over the bar.
  • 21′
    STAT ATTACK: The two teams went head-to-head in the qualification phase for the 2014 World Cup, with Congo securing a 1-0 victory in Pointe-Noire, before a scoreless draw at the Stade de Franceville in the return leg. Neither team moved on to the next stage, however, with Burkina Faso finishing top of the group.
  • 19′
    CHANCES AT BOTH ENDS! A ball across the box from Cesair is met by Bouka-Moutou inside the area, but he lashes his volley into the side netting. Back the other way come Gabon and Evouna causes all sorts of problems in the area, powering his way through on goal. The keeper gets a piece of the shot, but it bounces back off the head of Boris Moubhio and nearly into the back of the net for an own goal!
  • 17′
    Bifouma and Dore are linking up very well in the final third for Congo and are certainly not lacking for service thus far. The former is getting plenty of attention from the Gabon defence, however, and has been held in check thus far.
  • 15′
    Horrendous stuff from Bifouma, as his weak attempt at goal never gets off the ground and is blocked away by the first defender. Again Gabon try and break, but they lack quality in their passing and give possession straight back to their opponents.
  • 13′
    Congo are beginning to push the pace and attack their opponents. Bouka-Moutou has been a real bright spot for them on the left, causing all sorts of problems for Lloyd Palun. He does well to win his side a free kick near the edge of the area which presents a real chance for Congo.
  • 11′
    It has been a very even start to the match, with neither side able to take charge. Midfield play has been a bit sloppy early on and possession wasted far too easily.
  • 9′
    Congo win their first corner of the match after some good work from Arnold Bouka-Moutou on the left. They commit a number of men forward, but Bifouma’s delivery is poor. Gabon have a chance to expose them on the break but are far too indecisive as they fail to punish their opponents.
  • 7′
    STAT ATTACK: Congo were originally eliminated in the second round of qualifying on penalties, after their two-legged tie with Rwanda finished level on aggregate. Two weeks after the conclusion of the second match, however, their opponents were disqualified for fielding an ineligible player and Congo were granted a spot in the final stage of qualifying.
  • 5′
    BRILLIANT BUILD UP PLAY! Gabon push the pace into attack and a long pass is headed down by Malick Evouna, who tees up Frederic Bulot for a shot. The attacker, who is on loan with Charlton in England, gets off a thunderous volley, but it sails just inches over the bar.
  • 3′
    Some nerves take over early on as a simple throw for Congo near the corner flag results in some shaky defending for Gabon. Aaron Ondele, making his first start of the tournament, fails to clear an errant pass before Bruno Ecuele-Manga unconvincingly guides the ball back to his keeper.
  • 1′
    Thievy Bifouma and Ferebory Dore kick-off and we are underway in Bata! Congo are in red, moving left to right. Gabon in yellow and blue. Here we go!
  • The players are out on the pitch and we are just moments away now from the start of the match on a lovely evening. There is a slight chance of rain, but it appears to be holding off for now.
  • Neither team has much reason to tamper with their squad after impressive perfomances in their first matches, and they have not done so. Just one change for each team following their Group A openers. For Gabon, Yrondu Musavu-King is replaced at centre-back by Aaron Ondele, while Dimitri Magnokele slots in for Francis N’Ganga at left-back for Congo.
  • CONGO SUBS: F. N’Ganga, I. N’Ganga, Ganvoula, N’Guessi Ondama, Litsingi, Douniama, Massa, C. Malonga, D. Malonga, Binguila, Ndzila, Mavoungou.
  • GABON SUBS: Lengoualama, Kanga, Mbingui, Zue, Ndong, Mfa Mezui, N’Doumbou, Ze Ondo, Sokambi, Rogombe, Bitseki.
  • CONGO (4-4-2): Mafoumbi; Baudry, Babele, Moubhibo, Magnokele; Gandze, Oniangue, Ndinga, Bouka Moutou; Bifouma, Dore.
  • GABON (4-3-3): Ovono; Palun, Ecuele-Manga, Ondele, Obiang; Poko, Madinda, N’Dong; Aubameyang, Bulot, Evouna.