The 33rd edition of the Africa Cup of Nations, ongoing in Cameroon, has enjoyed its fair share of drama on and off the pitch and even more was served on Sunday.
The games played on Sunday in Group E at the Stade Japoma came to dramatic ends as the defending champions Algeria were stunned by Equatorial Guinea while two-time AFCON champions, Cote d’Ivoire, were denied victory by Sierra Leone.
Despite fluffing an early penalty kick, it was the Elephants who drew the first blood in Sunday’s first Group E tie. Ajax star Sebastien Haller put the 2015 AFCON winners in front but Musa Kamara made it 1-1 before Nicolas Pepe scored what looked like a winning goal for the West Africans.
In the 92nd minute, Cote d’Ivoire goalkeeper, Badra Ali Sangare committed a catastrophic goalkeeping blunder that allowed Alhaji Kamara to bundle the ball into the net and give Sierra Leone an unlikely 2-2 draw.
While the Elephants rued their late mistake and chance to punch their last 16 ticket, it was worse for Algeria who were stunned by Equatorial Guinea. Esteban Obiang slid in at the far post to convert a flick-on and score the only goal with 20 minutes left in Douala.
The defending champions are now at serious risk of an early exit as they have just one point from their opening two games and must defeat Cote d’Ivoire in their final Group E game to have a chance of reaching the last 16.
Sunday’s result ended Algeria’s unbeaten run at 35 matches, two short of Italy’s world record set last year.
In Group F, Wahbi Khazri scored twice as Tunisia recovered from a controversial loss to Mali to hammer Mauritania 4-0 in Limbe on Sunday.
The matchday 2 result threw Group F wide open with Gambia and Mali on four points, after a 1-1 draw between them earlier, and Tunisia on three with one matchday to go.
Tunisia will face the Gambia and Mali square up against pointless Mauritania on Thursday with the top two finishers booking second-round places and the third-placed team possibly going through as well as one of the best four in that position. The concluding matches will be played simultaneously.