Hosts Ivory Coast on ropes after AFCON loss



Equatorial Guinea produced the biggest upset in Africa Cup of Nations history with a 4-0 thumping of hosts Ivory Coast on Monday that put the small country into the round of 16 as Group A winners and left the hosts facing potential elimination.

Emilio Nsue scored two goals to take his tournament tally to five and Pablo Gannet and Yannick Buyla added two more as the country of 1.6 million swept aside the home team with a sensational result.

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The former Spanish colony finished top with seven points, ahead of Nigeria on goal difference.

"It's a nightmare we have lived through," Ivory Coast coach Jean-Louis Gasset said. "I didn't feel any tension among my players at the start of the match, it was in line with our plan, to try to dominate them, set the pace and open the score.

"We were surprised on the counter-attack. In football, efficiency is essential, and the opponent gave us a lesson in realism.

"We have to continue to believe [they will advance]. However, when you depend on the results of others, it's not a good sign."

The Ivorians dominated the first-half chances, but were rusty in front of goal with Nicolas Pepe having the best effort before a solitary attack at the other end saw Nsue grab a simple finish in the 42nd minute to put the underdogs ahead at the break.


Ivory Coast's Ibrahim Sangare and substitute Jean Philippe Krasso did have the ball in the net, but both efforts were marginally offside.



Then the tide turned firmly in favour of Equatorial Guinea as they set about wrapping up a barely believable win.

A brilliant curling free kick from Gannet extended their surprise lead in the 73rd and two minutes later a breakaway saw Nsue make it 3-0 to the astonishment of the crowd at the Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium.

Ivory Coast's humiliation was completed as substitute Buyla's scuffed effort made it 4-0 for the heaviest defeat ever suffered by a Cup of Nations host.

It was also the biggest loss at home for the Ivorians, who could do little right in the match.

They left the pitch with an armed escort to deafening jeers from their own fans but could yet get a reprieve if they finish as one of the four best third-placed finishers.

The other five groups will wrap up their games by Wednesday.

Guinea Bissau were last in Group A after their 1-0 loss to Nigeria on Monday.

Keywords: AFCON Ivory Coast Africa Cup of Nations

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