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Gabon on the verge of exit, heartbreak for Guinea-Bissau

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Gabon on the verge of exit, heartbreak for Guinea-Bissau 01/19/2017

After Gabon's opening day draw with minnow Guinea-Bissau, anything other than a win against Burkina Faso would make qualification for the knockout stage unlikely.

Despite a spirited second-half effort, Wednesday's 1-1 draw means the host nation will be watching the late match between Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau with a keen eye.

With that must-win nature of the match in mind Gabon started brightly. A mistake in the Burkina Faso defense inside the opening 60 seconds allowed Andre Biyogo Poko space down the right, but he was eventually smothered by a wall of white shirts.

Gabon continued to press and Johann Obiang's cross fell to Denis Bouanga, whose crisp half-volley rattled the underside of Kouakou Koffi's crossbar.

The pitch made it increasingly difficult for either side to find rhythm in their passing and the sandy, uneven surface soon claimed its first victim.

Jonathan Pitroipa, player of the tournament in 2013 when Burkina Faso reached the final, limped off in considerable pain inside 10 minutes and was replaced by Prejuce Nakoulma.

It would be the first of four injury-enforced substitutions, with the less than perfect pitch in Libreville once again drawing criticism.


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