The African champions touched the advantage several times but did not break through. Without Osimhen Nigeria wins with a goal from Iheanacho. The Liverpool star disappoints. In the third match it ends 0-0 between Sudan and Guinea Bissau
The reigning African champions stuck in the debut in Douala, held back at 0-0 by a Sierra Leone for a sparkling and proactive time and for the other grim and heroic: therefore a bitter taste for Algeria. The big match of the Cameroonian day instead goes to Nigeria, who beat Egypt 1-0 thanks to Iheanacho in a match dominated for large stretches. In the evening, finally, no network between Sudan and Guinea-Bissau, with the latter having missed a penalty in the final with Pele.
Algeria-Sierra Leone 0-0
In total contrast with the first six matches of the Africa Cup in Cameroon, the Douala match begins at a very high pace. First for the North African favorites who are looking for the immediate advantage with Slimani, then with Kamara who suddenly touches the post with a great early shot. At half-time the same center forward of the Danes Randers scares the reigning champions with a header that ends slightly out, but Algeria plays sufficiently as two other favorites have already done in recent days, Cameroon and Senegal. The bad attitude of Belmadi’s team pushes the coach to the first change already at half-time, but the second half opens with the canceled goal of a very inspired Kamara. The linesman signals the offside, but the alarm bell for the Desert Foxes remains. A greedy opportunity to change the match is then wasted by Brahimi, but in general Sierra Leone stoically resists a much more enterprising Algeria in the final match. Steven Caulker saves an almost scored goal in a slip and then the siege of the 2019 champions seems to be the throwing of knives: everyone around the target, no one hits the mark. Haste leads to error, but weighs an hour of play managed with too much passivity: it ends 0-0, a deserved point for John Keister’s Sierra Leone thanks to the effective goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara, best in the field: born in 1999, plays in home to the East End Lions, player to follow. Tomorrow at 20 in Equatorial Guinea and Ivory Coast for the other challenge of Group E.
No Osimhen, no problem. The absence in the Super Eagles of the Victor owned by Napoli seems to have already been forgotten after only half an hour of play thanks to his replacement, assisted head-on by Joe Aribo. The big match on African Tuesday is in fact released by Kelechi Iheanacho, who controls the ball from the thigh and then sends it into the net at the edge of the post with a great counterbalance shot. Carlos Queiroz’s team does not actually start the match badly, but the disadvantage with which the Egyptians return to the locker room makes the coach think about insufficient support for the star Mohamed Salah. After the quarter-hour break, however, nothing changes, so much so that at the start of the second half the doubling is thwarted only by an egregious smanacciata on the crossbar by Mohamed El Shenawi, threatened by a close header from Taiwo Awoniyi. In short, despite the absences, Nigeria dominates Egypt and risks little, with Salah who never manages to trigger. If the Pharaohs wanted to start the competition on the right foot, they didn’t understand how to do it. Both teams return to the field on Saturday for the second day of group D.
Nigeria and Egypt are decidedly stronger than the two teams on the pitch in the 20 o’clock match and it is probably with this awareness that the 22 players play it. The game is in fact lively from the first minutes, because only by winning it is possible to overcome the round, probably. In the fifteen minutes of play, Joseph Mendes dunks well with his head after a cross from a free-kick, but Sudan is saved because the ball returns to the area after hitting the post in full. Hubert Velud’s team rang a few minutes from the double whistle, but the first half did not reserve big opportunities, leaving more room for some foul intervention far beyond the usual. The skirmish continues in the second half, but the impression is that the draw does not go well for anyone: the turning point can be a disrupted intervention by Ali Achrine, who overwhelms Steve Ambri in the area. Penalty, in the 82nd minute Pele shows up on the spot, but he kicks badly: the weak and central shot is rejected and the counter by Piqueti, with the goalkeeper beaten, ends up incredibly against the crossbar. Shortly thereafter, the Sudan keeper made another high-hold mistake, but Frédéric Mendy’s powerful shot was thwarted by Mustafa Karshoum. When the number 13 devours a header in the 91st minute, the game is over: both need a miracle to hope for the round of 16.
January 11, 2022 (change January 11, 2022 | 22:00)
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Algeria cue. Salah null, Nigeria beats Egypt. And Pele misses a penalty …