Gabon dump out Morocco
A five-goal thriller at the Stade de l'Amitie saw co-hosts Gabon edge Morocco 3-2 after an action-packed game.
Last Updated: 27/01/12 9:35pm
A five-goal thriller at the Stade de l'Amitie saw AFCON co-hosts Gabon edge Morocco 3-2 after an action-packed game.
The match was keenly contested early on as Gabon did well to match their north African opponents, with their home support also boosting their morale.
However, Morocco always looked more dangerous going forward and opened the scoring 24 minutes into the clash.
Younes Belhanda threaded the ball through the Panthers defence and found Houssine Kharja, who took a couple of touches before striking it low past Ovono with his left foot.
Gabon pushed for the equaliser until the break, but Morocco's defence held firm as they took their slender lead into the dressing room.
The second half was jam packed with excitement and intrigue and saw no less than four goals.
Daniel Cousin came on as a half-time sub for Gabon and made an immediate impact. The experienced forward had a two decent chances early in the half but was denied.
However, a two-goal salvo saw Gabon surge ahead 2-1.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalised with a superbly taken volley from 10 yards out in the 77th minute.
And only two minutes later, Cousin finally found the back of the net. The forward made room for himself in the Atlas Lions' area before slotting it with a powerful low shot into the bottom corner of goalkeeper Nadir Lamyaghri's goal.
A late penalty saw the north Africans back on level terms at 2-2 thanks to a clear-cut penalty in the 90th minute.
Younes Belhanda's strike hit Stephan Bitseki Moto's hand in the area and the ref awarded the spot-kick, which Houssine Kharja converted with composure.
The strike silenced the partisan crowd, but only momentarily. With the last kick of the match, Bruno Mbanangoye Zita sent the stadium into wild celebrations as he curled home a free-kick from 25 yards to clinch the 3-2 win, virtually secure Gabon's progress and send Morocco packing.