2nd batch of round robin games start today in Group A with Ghana facing Namibia and Guinea vs. Morocco.
GROUP A – Standings
Morocco 5, Namibia 1
Soufiane Alloudi scored a hat-trick in the first 30 minutes to deal with an easily over-powered Namibian squad. Unfortunately, the Moroccan-based player’s effort cost him as he left the field early and will miss the second round robin tie vs. Guinea today. No worries it seems with a strike force consisting of Marouane Chamkh and Tarik Sektioui that will look to pick up the slack.
Ghana 2, Guinea 1
Sulley Ali Muntari’s 89th minute strike surprised every one as the hosts started their tournament off right. It was back-and-forth most of the game and primarily an attacking affair which took its toll on many of the players. With 30 minutes to go, the game switched to general long range strikes, mainly off-target. Ghana are going to have to be a little more convincing if they’re going to get by Morocco in the third round of games. Maybe their new jersey sponsorship deal with Puma will help.
GROUP B – Standings
Ivory Coast 1, Nigeria 0
Salomon Kalou’s individual effort sparked Ivory Coast’s win over one of their biggest Group B threats. Portsmouth’s John Utaka, Chelsea’s Jon Obi Mikel, and Newcastle’s Obafemi Martins were virtually nonexistant for Nigeria. Both still have Mali to deal with.
Mali 1, Benin 0
A rather unconvincing win for Mali. Frederic Kanoute converted a 49th minute penalty kick for the win, but the true playmaker was the other Sevilla man, Seydou Keita who ripped through a porous Benin defense with no goals to show for it.
GROUP C – Standings
Zambia 3, Sudan 0
The Zambians organized themselves to reduce to Sudan’s 32-year return from African Nations Cup absences to crap.
Egypt 4, Cameroon 2
Thanks to a Mohamed Zidan brace – and his now infamous ‘hot potato’ goal celebration – Egypt took care of their only real competition within the group. Not that Zambia shouldn’t be taken seriously, but Egypt showed they are ready to repeat. Samuel Eto’o got very little going for the Lions, even though he provided the brace that made it even remotely close (not to mention moving one goal away from breaking the African Nations Cup all-time scoring record of 14). Zidan has my vote for best player in the first round of games. Although his teammate Hosni Abd Rabou – who scored two as well – could compete. A very entertaining match as I watched this at George Payne’s in Placa Urquianona in Barcelona.
GROUP D – Standings
Senegal 2, Tunisia 2
Fulham’s Diomansy Kamara is firing on all cylinders for his country, even if he isn’t for club. His goal in the 66th minute ensured at least a point from a tough clash with the Tunisians.
Angola 1, South Africa 1
Everton’s Steven Pienaar provided the creativity, but it was substitute Elrio Van Heerden who guaranteed a point for South Africa against an Angolan team that looks as resilient as in their 2006 World Cup appearance. Alberto Manucho struck early for the Angolans, looking to take a little away from the “experimental” South African squad (meaning young and inexperienced), but three points weren’t to be had.
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