Morocco and Senegal scored late goals on Monday to get off to winning starts at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Cameroon.
The Teranga Lions in the first match of the day laboured to an uninspiring lone goal victory over Zimbabwe while the Atlas Lions recorded an identical scoreline over Ghana’s Black Stars.
A late penalty in the 97th minute from talisman Sadio Mane helped Senegal beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their match decided at the Kouekong Stadium in Baffoussam.
Aliou Cisse’s team won a late penalty when substitute Pape Gueye’s effort came off the arm of defender Kelvin Wilbert in stoppage time and star man Mane fired in the winner from the spot.
With Senegal, more than 100 steps ahead of Zimbabwe on the monthly FIFA rankings, many had expected the Lions to roar to a convincing win but they will be happy nonetheless to have secured the maximum points in the difficult tie.
In the other Group B tie, Guinea also got their African Cup of Nations campaign off to a winning start as they edged past Malawi.
Toulouse’s Issiaga Sylla scored the only goal of the game in the 35th minute, finishing from close range after good work in the box from Jose Kante.
Guinea were in the news in the build-up to the AFCON following reports that the military government in the country has given orders to the Syli Nationale to win in Cameroon or refund monies invested in them.
In what passes as the star match of the day, Sofiane Boufal’s late strike was enough to earn Morocco a win in the opening game in Group C as they beat Ghana 1-0 in Yaounde.
With Monday’s result, Ghana have now won only one of their last five opening group games at the African Cup of Nations
In the last game of the day, Comoros made their AFCON debut against Gabon, which they lost 0-1 to a wonderful first half goal from Aaron-Salem Boupendza.