Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first half penalty denied Burkina Faso victory against Gabon.
Burkina Faso took the lead on the counter-attack after Obiang failed to deal with a long ball within his own half. Forced substitution Nakoulma pounced onto the ball and after much work poked the ball in.
Aubameyang replied for Gabon 11 minutes later though. He won and scored a spot kick. The Borussia Dortmund forward was brought down in the penalty area by Koffi. He converted the penalty easily.
The second half wasn’t nearly as invigorating as the first though and despite a couple of chances, the game ended 1-1.
In terms of missed chances, Gabon had a fair few. Bouanga hit the bar with a half-volley in the first half. In the late stages of the game, Bouanga missed another chance. He came sprinting in from the left after Aubameyang’s cut-back and his shot from just over six yards out was saved by the leg of Koffi.
Burkina Faso had a fair few chances missed as well. Their first half was pretty poor apart from the goal. But they picked up a little bit in the second after Bertrand Traore was introduced. Traore was brilliant straight after coming on, having a near-goal blocked. However, Burkina Faso backed off after this, settling for the point.
The game was rife with injuries with all but one of the substitutions being forced. The pitch must be a cause for concern after another game ridden with ankle, hamstring and leg injuries all of which appear to be caused by the surface.
Burkina Faso will be the happier of the two with a win against Guinea-Bissau almost certainly putting them through. Hosts Gabon face an uncertain future in the competition having to face Cameroon in the final game. All eyes will be on the game between Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau.
Gabon were on the attack from the very first minute. Evouna worked his way into the box from the right and cut inside. He couldn’t get a good pass out and he sent a weak one to Aubameyang. The Dortmund forward ran into a complete dead-end though with the ball being hooked away from him.
Gabon had their second chance through Bouanga. Evouna played a fantastic short ball for Bouanga. Bouanga had the opportunity to run deep into the right-hand side of the box. However, his first touch was heavy and he was beaten to the ball by Koffi.
Bouanga nearly scored moments later. Obiang played in a great ball from the right. Bouanga let the ball bounce before hitting a thunderous half-volley which Koffi tipped onto the bar. Aubameyang had a clear sight of goal for the rebound but his header trickled into Koffi’s hands.
Disaster struck for Burkina Faso as Pitroipa suffered an ankle injury. Nakoulma replaced him. It looks doubtful that Pitroipa will compete in rest of the tournament.
Alain Traore could have done better for Burkina Faso. He hit a left-footed strike from the edge of the box but it was hit poorly. Despite the poor strike Ovono still struggled to deal with it.
All of this had happened not even 15 minutes in. The game already shaping up to be a good one.
Burkina Faso took the lead after a disastrous defensive error. Burkina Faso launched the ball long and it was up to Obiang to clear it out of their half. Obiang tried to take it down but was dispossessed by Nakoulma after the ball bounced awkwardly. The substitute was past the backline and ran down on goal.
His chances looked to be squandered, however, as it seemed he was blocked off by two defenders while just outside the six-yard box. Ovono made the decision to begin his descent from his own goal. Seeing the opportunity, Nakoulma took a shot at goal and his brush of the ball somehow beat Ovono and the two defenders.
This stung Gabon. They hosts looked rattled and things only got worse. Ze Onzo had to come on for left back Obiang after the latter picked up an injury to his lower leg in his own half.
But the hosts equalised from the penalty spot. Aubameyang was played through on goal with a pin-point through ball. He only had the charging Koffi to beat. He sprinted down the left and upon reaching the area he met Koffi. He played the ball on past the goalkeeper and was brought down on the left corner of the box.
Koffi had completely missed the ball and sent the Gabonese striker flying. Koffi was booked for the incident due to the recently instated rules. Aubameyang was to take the penalty too. He slotted it in with a low shot into the bottom left corner.
The half-time whistle rang out soon after. An entertaining first-half. Gabon would have to make a charge for the win in the second half.
In the second half there was yet another injury. Burkina Faso received their second of the game after Zongo picked up an ankle injury. Bertrand Traore was brought on to replace him.
Traore threatened instantly. The Ajax player beat two defenders by running through a gap between them. He had a great opportunity to shoot but his shot was smothered and deflected by a block and it was parried away by Ovona of Gabon.
Burkina Faso had another promising chance from a free-kick. Diawara hit the set-play and it deflected off the wall. The ball was on target but definitely didn’t have enough on it to go in. Dayo had a great chance to glance home from six yards out but couldn’t connect as Ovona cleared.
Injury struck again on the difficult surface. Ngouali came on for the hurt Tandjigora.
Both sides then made substitutions as the end of the game approached. Burkina Faso brought on Sare for Alain Traore while Angoue came on for Gabon in place of Poko.
Coulibaly suffered a deep cut above the eye after a clash of heads. But after some (questionable) bandage work he battled on.
Bouanga came agonisingly close to putting Gabon ahead. Aubameyang received a cross on the right-hand side of the area and headed the ball across the face of goal. Bouanga came sprinting in from the left and hit the shot first time. To his dismay, he was denied by the leg of Koffi.
Bouanga was the man behind Gabon’s next chance. He skinned Coulibaly on the right before firing in a powerful cross from the byline. Angoue got his head to it but could only send it high and wide.
The game ended in a draw. A result much more favourable for the Burkinabe. Gabon will be threatened with elimination going into the last match of the group against Cameroon. Meanwhile, Burkina Faso have the more desired game against Guinea-Bissau.