Zimbabwe held after two glaring Musona misses
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, June 26, (RTRS): Nigeria became the first side to advance to the knockout stage of the Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday as they beat Guinea 1-0, having taken more than an hour to break the deadlock for the second straight match.
Nigeria centre back Kenneth Omeruo scored the only goal of the game after 73 minutes, rising unchallenged to head home a corner from Moses Simon at the Alexandria Stadium.
It was Nigeria’s second Group B win from two games, but was another testing encounter after they beat Burundi 1-0 in their opener having taken 77 minutes to break down the resilient rookies.
Nigeria’s six points guarantees progress to the last 16 after a major improvement in their form from the opening game of the tournament.
Nigeria changed their approach and sought to use the flanks with Simon on the right wing and Ahmed Musa on the left among five changes to the starting lineup made by coach Gernot Rohr.
The impact was almost immediate as Simon beat his marker to deliver an inviting square pass inside the second minute, but Alex Iwobi hesitated and the chance was lost.
Musa then gave notice of the threat he might pose with a surging run and delivery from which Odion Ighalo could have scored had his first touch not allowed the ball to bounce away from him.
After the break, Iwobi’s shot forced a save from Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone, who was included in the team after coach Paul Put criticised the performance of Aly Keita in Guinea’s 2-2 draw with debutants Madagascar in their opening game.
Kone also punched away a free kick just after the hour mark from Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo.
Guinea’s Naby Keita started his first match since he suffered an adductor injury playing for Liverpool against Barcelona on May 1, but he was taken off after 70 minutes having received several knocks in the game.
Two glaring misses by Knowledge Musona cost Zimbabwe as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Uganda at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Uganda followed up their surprise 2-0 win over Democratic Republic of Congo in their first game by taking a 12th-minute lead through Emmanuel Okwi before Khama Billiat levelled for Zimbabwe five minutes before the break.
Musona should have equalised before that but fired over from close range and was guilty of an even worse effort in the second half when he hit the crossbar with an open goal from six metres. Uganda have four points from two games in Group A with Zimbabwe, beaten 1-0 by Egypt in their first game, on one.
Underdogs Benin hit back to secure a 2-2 draw with 10-man Ghana after the Black Stars had a player sent off for time-wasting in bizarre circumstances .