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  • Updated: January 13, 2022

AFCON 2022: Cameroon's Aboubakar Tops Scorer's Chat On Matchday 1

AFCON 2022: Cameroon's Aboubakar Tops Scorer's Chat On Match

Cameroon captain Vincent Aboubakar's brace from spot-kick on matchday 1 of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2022 takes him to the top of the scoring chart being the only player to have scored two goals.

At the last edition of the Cup, held in Egypt three years ago, 27 goals were scored in the 12 matches that make up Matchday 1.

Unlike in Egypt,  goals have been scarce in Cameroon with just 12 in 12 matches causing former Nigeria playmaker Jay-Jay Okocha to say "we need to see the ball in the net much more often".

Matchday 2 in the group phase starts on Thursday to Sunday, Here is a brief survey of each group;

GROUP A -- Cameroon, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso, and Ethiopia

Host Cameroon and runner-up Cape Verde would clinch a place in the last 16 in Yaounde on Thursday if they defeat Ethiopia and Burkina Faso for Match day 2

Maximum points would give the Indomitable Lions and Blue Sharks six points each, leaving the other two teams to fight for third place and possible qualification when they meet in the final round.

Cameroon should succeed against nimble but limited Ethiopia, but Burkina Faso could overcome Cape Verde if they become more disciplined in their tackles that gave two penalties to Aboubakar.

GROUP B -- Senegal, Guinea, Zimbabwe and Malawi

Sadio Mane of Senegal will face Naby Keita of Guinea in a top-of-the-table affair in Bafoussam on Friday with the winners virtually guaranteed a last-16 slot.

Neither Senegal nor Guinea impressed in solitary-goal wins over Zimbabwe and Malawi respectively with the Teranga Lions, one of the title contenders, held for 96 minutes before a late minute penalty gave Mane the opportunity to put his side ahead.

African Footballer of the Year holder, Mane said he "did not want to make excuses but the mid-afternoon heat when playing Zimbabwe and a lack of warm-up matches due to the coronavirus had an impact".

GROUP C -- Morocco, Gabon, Comoros and Ghana

Ghana whose last triumph came over 4 decades ago will face Gabon on Friday in Yaounde, which will decide the runner-up spot behind likely group winner Morocco.

Aaron Boupendza, who led the Gabon attack in the absence of COVID-19-sidetracked Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scored the goal that secured victory over Comoros.

With so much at stake, this promises to be a close encounter, while Morocco are likely to follow up a win over Ghana by securing three more points at the expense of the Comorans.

GROUP D -- Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt and Guinea-Bissau

Group leaders, Nigeria face limited Sudan next and are poised to finish first and face a third-placed team in the second round while Egypt will probably meet title-holders Algeria or the Ivory Coast if they come second.

Mohamed Salah-captained Egypt will need more than Premier League glories to push his side against Guinea-Bissau on Saturday in Garoua if they hope to go all the way in Cameroon and win a record-extending eighth title.

He is the main man for the Pharaohs and the Super Eagles have given the template to stop him. So he needs to step up his game.

Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz was furious after the loss to Nigeria, labelling the performance "very poor. We started playing only in the second half."

GROUP E -- Ivory Coast, Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone

Even title holders Algeria and fellow two-time champions Ivory Coast were victims of the goal drought plaguing all the teams playing in the AFCON 2021 now 2022.

Algeria could not find the back of the net as Sierra Leone proved a formidable opponent while Ivory Coast could only manage a solitary goal against Equatorial Guinea.

On the World's ranking, Sierra Leone are 79 places below the Algerians while Equatorial Guinea could have become defeated Ivory Coast if they had been more clinical in front of goal.

The confidence of the underdogs must have risen after those gallant performances -- the Sierra Leoneans face Ivory Coast and the Equatoguineans meet Algeria on Sunday.

GROUP F -- Gambia, Mali, Mauritania and Tunisia

Debutants Gambia, climaxed their 16 failed qualifying attempts with a victory over Mauritania, face co-leaders Mali knowing even one point would be enough to book a last-16 place.

While Mali and Tunisia remain favourites to occupy the two automatic qualifying places, any third-place team collecting four points are likely to advance as well.

Tunisia, fuming after the referee blew the end of a loss to Mali three minutes before he should have, face Mauritania, a nation they were surprisingly held by at the last Cup of Nations.

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