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CHAN: Gabon and Burundi share the spoils

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Gabon and Burundi played a dull goalless draw in their opening African Nations Championship (CHAN) match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Tuesday night.

The draw means both sides will share a point each and they will stay behind Group D leaders DR Congo, who beat Mauritania 1-0 in the other Group D match encounter earlier on the day. Gabon were the better of the two sides throughout the match, but their misfiring in front of goals resulted in the share of spoils against the Burundians who were panned back by the strong attacking Gabon side.

The match started in a slow tempo in the opening fifteen minutes with both sides failing to create any clear cut chances except for the slight opportunity that Burundi had to open the scoring early on after five minutes when Gabon defender Erwin Nguema lost possession and allowed Christophe Nduwarugira to take the ball and run to goals but the striker squandered the chance and allowed Nguema to make a sliding tackle and cover.

After that chance both teams failed to show any composure up front. Another slim chance of the match came in the 20th minute when Gabon winger Frank Obame had a go from range only for his strike to sail over the bar.

The Gabonese had another chance when they won a free-kick from 30-yards out but their skipper and striker Daniel Cousin’s set-piece was deflected out for a corner by the wall. The resulting corner saw Romuald Ewouta- Entsitsigui’s header cleared off the line as the Panthers started to pose a threat.

Burundi were relieved again not to go down just five minutes before the break when Daniel Cousin showed great skill by trapping the ball with his chest before beating his marker and his final shot was blocked by onrushing ‘keeper Arthur Arakaza.

The half time break saw both teams deadlocked at 0-0 with Burundi having much to talk about in the dressing rooms as they didn’t manage a single short on target.

Gabon continued where they left off in the opening stanza when they almost broke the deadlock just five minutes after the restart when Daniel Cousin’s low free-kick from just the outside the area went whisker wide of the target.

The Burundians were slowly finding their feet, and the made two attacking changes around the hour mark bringing on Mossi Moussa and Shasiri Nahamana as they searched for the opening goal. But the change made by the Swallows looked not to make an impact.

Gabon also failed to create any clear cut chances, and their decision to withdraw big striker Daniel Cousin looked to the poor one as the Panthers struggled to create the spark midway point of the second half.

With five minutes left to play, Gabon almost took the lead and it would have been a winner if Erwin Nguema directed his free-header on target following a corner kick.  The frustrations of the Gabonese continued when substitute Samson Mbingue’s header inside the area beat Arthur Arakaza hands down in goals only for the lines to judge the player to be offside.

The match ended 0-0. It was a match Gabon should have won looking at their chances through the match.  

Gabon: Moto, Mouele, Ewouta Entsitsigui, Nguema, Avebe, Obame, Djissikade (Mbingui 81’), Kabi, Ewouta (Moyoungou 68’), Cousin © ( Yacouya 65’), Taty

Burundi: Arakaza, Rashid, Hakizimana, Nsabiyumva, Hankizimana, Ndikumana © ( Ndarusanze 90+3), Ndikumana, Duhayinayi, Habonimana ( Nahimana 63’), Nduwarugira (Moussa 52’), Abdul.