Boupendza's stunner hands Gabon win over Comoros

Boupendza’s stunner hands Gabon win over Comoros

Gabon secured a 1-0 win over Comoros in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) Group C match at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo on Monday night.

A stunning first-half goal from Aaron Boupendza ensured that the Panthers began their Group C campaign with a narrow victory over the Coelacanths in the capital city of Cameroon, Yaounde.

The Panthers started the match brightly as they looked to pile pressure on the Coelacanths, who were playing their first-ever match in the Afcon finals, but the tournament debutants looked compact and solid at the back.

It took something special from Gabon to penetrate the Comoros’ defence in the 16th minute. Louis Ameka controlled a long ball from goalkeeper Joel Noel Amonome brilliantly, before setting up Aaron Boupendza who scored a stunning goal.

The Qatar-based striker, who was leading the Panthers’ attack in the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, beat keeper Ali Ahamada from a tight angle with his left-footed shot to hand Gabon a 1-0 lead.

Comoros then controlled the game as they looked to level matters, but they found it difficult to break down the Gabonese defence with Amonome dealing well with long balls from the Coelacanths. The score was 1-0 to Gabon at the interval.

The Coelacanths continued to push for the equalising goal after the restart with their coach Amir Abdou having introduced Cyprus-based midfielder Fouad Bachirou and SO Cholet forward Faiz Mattoir.

Both teams launched attacks with neither side happy to sit back and invite pressure. Denis Bouanga’s effort was well saved by Ahamada, while Moussa Djoumoi’s powerful low shot was blocked by Amonome at the other end.

Patrice Neveu, the Gabon head coach, then pulled out goalscorer Boupendza and introduced David Sambissa, who is a defender by trade. Gabon were able to contain Comoros and ultimately they emerged 1-0 winners on the night.

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