CHAN: Group C left wide open after Friday draws

By alex wafula
Jan 23, 2016
  • Guinea keeper Abdoul Aziz Keita goes for a quick shot after picking the ball from a corner. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Tunisia striker Ahmed Akaichi attempts to shoot but is blocked by Nigeria's Austin Obaroakpo. (Photo by Alex Wafula

The winner and second placed team in Group C will be known on the final group day match after both second matches ended in draws at the Kigali Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo.

Tunisia came from behind to play to a one-all draw with Nigeria while Guinea twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Niger.

After Friday's action, Sunday Oliseh’s Nigeria are top of the group with four points while Guinea and Tunisia are second with two points each. Niger have one.

The final match day will see Tunisia take on Niger while Nigeria play Guinea. Oliseh is hopeful his side can top the group to get a relatively easier opponent in the quarters and he remains optimistic.

“It is very tough because Guinea is not an easy team. We want to be top of the group as much as possible and I am confident in my boys. They will be able to deliver a result,” Oliseh stated.

Against Tunisia, Nigeria only came to life in the second half. Oliseh had made two changes in the team that won 4-1 against Niger. He started with Elvis Chisom Chikatara who scored three goals against Niger.

Defender Austin Obaroakpo who missed the first match through suspension was also given a starting place, coming in for Kalu Orji. Nigeria had the first questions to ask, Tunisia keeper Rame Jeridi being alert between his sticks reacting well to keep out a goal bound effort after Mathew Ifeanyi’s hard cross ricocheted off defender Zied Boughattas.

On the other end, Ahmed Akaichi who struck twice for Tunisia against Guinea forced Nigerian keeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa into a fine save with a shot from inside the box.

Tunisia attacked relentlessly and Ezenwa was called into action again, this time parrying away an effort from Abdekadir Oueslati in the 27th minute.

Stephen Eze who partnered Obaroakpo in defense apeared unstable and the speed of the Tunisians sometimes bothered him.

Tunisia felt to have been robbed of a goal in the 44th minute after Akaichi rose to head in a cross from Ali Maoului but the first assistant referee Oamogetse Godisamang had his flag up for an offside.

At the start of the second half, Oliseh pulled out Eze and brought in Orji, a new partnership in central defense. Six minutes after the restart, that man Chikatara pounced. He picked up a loose ball at the edge of the box, weaved in and struck a shot that was deflected past Jeridi in goal.

But the lead did not last long, and who else to strike the reply but Akaichi in the 68th minute after Nigeria poorly lined their defense enabling Akaichi to pick the ball on the left after Saad Bguir nodded down a cross from Ali Monser from the left.

The burly Esperance forward came close to a second in the 77th minute but his effort was blocked off the line by Orji.

Injuries deflate Niger

In the second match, the football gods seemed to have been against Niger’s progression. The West Africans exhausted all their subs in the opening half, all coming as a result of injuries.

Their first change was the fastest in the tournament. Striker Idrissa Halidou had an awkward fall on the turf in the first minute of the game and appeared to have twisted his knee. He was replaced by Adamou Issa Mousa.

Fifteen minutes later, defender Kader Amadou had to be stretchered off after a collision mid-air with a Guinean player. At the stroke of half time, keeper Mousa Alhassane seemed to have pulled a hamstring as he backpedaled and was replaced by Oumarou Soumaila.

Before this match, Niger needed a win but were weakened by the injuries. Niger though got the much needed goal in the 37th minute through Mossi Mousa Issa. The lanky forward took a calm and composed finish from inside the box after the Guinean defense had blocked Imarana Seyni’s cross.

Their celebrations didn’t last long because a minute later, Guinea equalized. Aboubacar Syla had gotten the Niger defense still napping and sprinted into the box before shooting low into the far left.

Niger got back into the lead three minutes after half time, substitute Adamou Mousa slapping the ball home from the right picking up Adebayor Zakari’s corner.

Substitute Aboubacar Kile Bangoura broke Niger’s hearts in the 78th minute when he shot low into the corner from inside the box after the defense had failed to clear away a cross.

On Saturday,  Zimbabwe play Mali and Uganda tackle Zambia.

Groups and Results

Group A: Rwanda, Gabon, Morocco, Ivory Coast January 16: Rwanda 1 Ivory Coast 0, Gabon 0 Morocco 0; January 20: Rwanda 2 Gabon 1, Morocco 0 Ivory Coast 1;

Group B: DR Congo, Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia January 17: DR Congo 3 Ethiopia 0, Angola 0 Cameroon 1; January 21; DR Congo 4 Angola 2, Ethiopia 0 Cameroon 0;

Group C: Tunisia, Nigeria, Niger, Guinea January 18: Tunisia 2 Guinea 2, Nigeria 4 Niger 1; January 21; Nigeria 1 Tunisia 1, Guinea 2 Niger 2;

Group D: Zimbabwe, Mali, Uganda, Zambia. January 19: Zimbabwe 0 Zambia 1, Mali 2 Uganda 2;

Remaining Fixtures

January 23: Zimbabwe v Mali, Uganda v Zambia (Rubavu)

January 24: Morocco v Rwanda (Amahoro), Morocco v Ivory Coast, (Huye)

January 25: Ethiopia v Angola (Amahoro), Cameroon v DR Congo (Huye)

January 26: Guinea v Nigeria (Rubavu), Niger v Tunisia (Nyamirambo)

January 27: Zambia v Mali (Nyamirambo), Uganda v Zimbabwe (Amahoro)

January 30: Quarter finals; Match 25. A1 v B2 (Amahoro), Match 26. B1 v A2 (Huye)

January 31: Quarter finals; C1 v D2 (Stade Kigali); D1 v C2 (Rubavu)

February 3: Semi finals; Winner 25 v Winner 28

February 4: Winner 27 v Winner 26 February 8: Play off, Final