Powerhouses Nigeria and Egypt were held to draws and Ghana suffered a late loss on a day of shocks at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Ivory Coast on Sunday.

Nigeria drew 1-1 with Equatorial Guinea and Egypt needed a 97th minute Mo Salah penalty to rescue a point and deny Mozambique a first ever Cup of Nations victory.

But Ghana’s Black Stars walked away with nothing after a late goal saw them slip to a 2-1 loss to Cape Verde and immediately put them on the back foot having been dumped out in the pool stages in Cameroon two years ago.

“We hoped to win this match and we did everything to win,” Nigeria coach Jose Peseiro said. “Our team was better than that of Equatorial Guinea but we lacked luck. I am not happy. We deserved to win, this draw doesn’t suit us.

“Our team created a lot of chances but we didn’t score. We hope that next time, even with fewer opportunities, we will score. We simply have to improve our finishing.”

Mozambique were seconds away from one of the greatest shocks in Cup of nations history, but couldn’t see the game out as Salah netted his penalty off the post to earn seven-time winners Egypt a 2-2 draw.

“We were so close. The result was almost in our hands. However, it is up to us to work harder so that this does not happen again. We are sad and that is a good thing because we are not satisfied with what we got today,” Mozambique coach Conde Chiquinho said.

Midfielder Guima, who won Man of the Match, says the result shows what a threat The Mambas can be.

“It’s an indescribable feeling. It’s my first Afcon and I’m so proud to be here. I am proud of my team. We stood up to Egypt. We want to showcase Mozambican talent to the world. We really believe we will go far, we think big, we know we can beat any team,” he said.

Egypt had come into the tournament in top form, but their coach Rui Vitoria is now sweating on what will be a crucial clash against Ghana next up.

“Mozambique has a solid team, I said it before meeting them and that’s what happened today,” the Portuguese coach said. “They gave us a lot of tactical problems with this low pack. This team has excellent elements in midfield. They found gaps in us and they took advantage of it.

“It’s going to be a different story (against Ghana). We will have to reduce the spaces and be more concentrated because against an experienced team like Ghana, the slightest mistake is paid dearly.”

The Black Stars were left desperately disappointed by their loss, which reignited bad memories of their first round exit in Cameroon.

“We deserved more from the match,” defender Alexander Djiku said. “Just when we were coming into the game, we conceded the second goal, even though we were on top of the game. We didn’t create many chances, we didn’t utilise the few chances we created, it is why we couldn’t win.

“I was in the team during the last Afcon, our elimination in the first round remains the worst memory of my career and I don’t want to relive that.”

Ghana coach Chris Hughton also expressed his bitter disappointment.

“I think it rocked us the goal that we conceded (in the first half) but I thought that we got back into the game and at that stage it looked like we could go on and win it. We are hugely, hugely disappointed with the result,” he said.

Source: Mzansi Football

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