Today’s Matches (first batch of Round Three match-ups):
Ghana 2, Morocco 0
Starpower took over as both Michael Essien and Sulley Ali Muntari scored to dispatch of Morocco, who will be kicking themselves for the loss to Guinea. Both goals were scored in the first half and booked the host nation in the second round with a perfect 3-0-0 record. In no way was it dominant round-robin performance, but Ghana is certainly a heavy favorite.
Guinea 1, Namibia 1
After their showings against Morocco and Ghana, one would almost expect against Namibia but one point was enough to get the Guineans through. For those seeing Guinea as a complete dark horse, they have made the quarterfinals of the ANC for the third consecutive time. Souleymane Youla scored Guinea’s goal in the 61st minute, while Brian Brendell came back 20 minutes later to tie it up.
Quick Round Up of Game Twos
Angola 3, Senegal 1
One word: Manucho. Angola’s striker has made it three in two games and really warranted a big European transfer. There is still a lot of tournament to go, however, and Angola is in no way safe. Their cause was helped by Manucho’s brace…
Tunisia 3, South Africa 1
Pretty embarassing defeat for the Bafana Bafana. Then again, they’re playing with a very young team…and playing against an established striker like Santos of Ligue 1’s Toulouse. The Tunisian scored two of his nation’s three goals and put the North African squad tied at the top with Angola.
Cameroon 5, Zambia 1
Samuel Eto’o equaled the record for most goals scored overall in the African Nation’s Cup, but the Barca striker was overshadowed by his teammates who put on a show for the crowd. Joseph Job scored a brace while Newcastle fullback Geremi found the net as well. Toulouse’s Achille Emana added one as well, putting Cameroon back in the mix for qualification.
Egypt 3, Sudan 0
Mohamed Zidan was dangerous yet again and with the attention he was getting, his teammates found the openings they needed to put one the Pharoahs’ feet into the next round. Mohamed Aboutraika struck for two and Hosni Abd Rabou converted the first of the night (his third of the tournament).
Ivory Coast 4, Benin 1
The only outright quarterfinal qualifier came on the backs of Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Kader Keita, and Aruna Dindane. All four scored to put the Ivory Coast through in authoritative fashion. The win puts them as my favorites to win.
Nigeria 0, Mali 0
In a hard-fought deadlock, Nigeria will be wondering why their star-studed strike force is sputtering at the moment. Obafemi Martins and John Utaka haven’t been able to find one goal as of yet and Nigeria sits in third with only 1 point out of two games. Mali sits in second with 4 and looks the favorite to go through as Benin is their last opponent.