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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Ghana humiliation, Aubameyang problems, and other talking points after group stage matches

13:54 GMT+3 21/01/2022
Thomas Partey Ghana
The biennial competition ended the group stage on Thursday night and GOAL looks at the main points as the teams advanced to the last 16
  • algeria - afcon 2021

    Algeria's humiliating exit

    After going 34 matches without tasting defeat, Algeria - who were the defending champions - were expected to continue soaring and maybe go all the way to defending the crown.

    However, it was not to be. They drew 0-0 with Sierra Leone, fell 1-0 to Equatorial Guinea before another 3-1 loss to Ivory Coast ensured they went home without a win. The Desert Foxes faithful must be wondering what went wrong, as they came into the tournament holding one of the longest unbeaten streaks in international history.

  • Jordan Ayew Andre Ayew Andy Yiadom Ghana

    Embarrassing Ghana, Ayew brothers show

    Just like the former champions, Ghana were considered among the favourites and nobody would have predicted they would fall in the first hurdle. Things did not work out for the West Africa nation from the first game where they lost to Morocco by a solitary goal.

    Ugly scenes in the 1-1 draw with Gabon saw Benjamin Tetteh get suspended for three games, before a 3-2 loss to debutants Comoros sent them packing. Questions will be asked about the impact of Andrew and Jordan Ayew who were inconsistent throughout, with the former being accused of selfishness on the pitch. Will they redeem their reputation in the World Cup qualifiers?

  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang & Merlin Tandjigora of Gabon

    Aubameyang's troubles extended to Gabon

    The troubled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a chance to redeem his image after being put in the dark by Arsenal over claims of indiscipline. Surprisingly, rumours suggest that it is for the same reason the striker was dismissed from Afcon by his team Gabon alongside Mario Lemina.

    The forward denied the reports; but in his absence, the Panthers have been impressive and managed to qualify for the last 16 where they will play Burkina Faso. Is Aubameyang's career at an all-time low?

  • Umar Sadiq, Nigeria - Super Eagles

    Nigeria defy the odds

    The Super Eagles had been inconsistent in the Afcon qualifiers and many felt they did not stand a chance to challenge for the trophy. The West Africans needed a game against Egypt to show they meant business. They put on an excellent performance with Kelechi Iheanacho putting the icing on the cake with a world-class finish to hand his team victory.

    Wins against Guinea Bissau and Sudan ensured the Super Eagles are the only team with a 100% winning record in the group stage. They will play struggling Tunisia in the knockout phase with the fans optimistic their team will go all the way to the final.

  • Tunisia, Mali controversy

    In the match featuring the aforementioned teams staged in Limbe on January 12, both teams were desperate for victory. Mali went on to score their goal through Ibrahima Kone - from the penalty spot - while the Carthage Eagles wasted theirs courtesy of Wahbi Khazri.

    However, the spotlight was on Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe; he reportedly failed to stop his watch in several incidents and went on to blow the final whistle in the 85th minute. He was corrected but again ended the game with a few seconds remaining in regulation time. Tunisia, later on, refused to return to the pitch to play the final few minutes. It was later revealed Sikazwe had health issues that affected him.

  • Referee Salima Rhadia Mukansanga of Rwanda gestures during the Africa Cup of Nations.

    Mukansanga makes history

    Rwanda referee Salima Rhadia Mukansanga made history as the first-ever woman referee to officiate in the Africa Cup of Nations when she blew the whistle for Zimbabwe's surprise 2-1 victory over Guinea on January 18. The 35-year-old, who had already served as the fourth official during the Malawi versus Guinea fixture, took charge of the Group B clash at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium.

    She led an all-female team of match officials with assistant referees Carine Atemzabong (Cameroon) and Fatiha Jermoumi (Morocco) running the lines and VAR being adjudicated by Bouchra Karboubi (Morocco).