AFCON favourites Egypt and Nigeria only manage draws, but Ivory Coast open with win

January 15 – Hosts and two-time winners Ivory Coast began with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau but hotly favoured Egypt and Nigeria were both held and Ghana beaten as the African Cup of Nations got under way at the weekend with a spate of surprises.

Seko Fofana needed only four minutes to score the opening goal of the tournament for Les Elephants and Jean-Philippe Krasso wrapped up the win in the second half.

But there was no such luck for two of the tournament’s biggest names, Mohamed Salah and Victor Osimhen, whose countries endured a difficult start to the event.

Salah needed a late penalty in the seventh minute of stoppage time to spare Egypt’s embarrassment by drawing 2-2 against Mozambique, denying them their first-ever tournament win at the 13th attempt.

Osimhen, meanwhile, was unable to lift Nigeria to a winning start as the Super Eagles were held 1-1 by Equatorial Guinea in their opening game.

It was even worse for four-time champions Ghana who conceded in injury time to lose 2-1 to Cape Verde, maintaining the small Atlantic island nation’s record of never losing its opening Africa Cup game in four appearances.

Contact the writer of this story at andrew.warshaw@insideworldfootball