The first day of play in each group of the ongoing TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) came to an exciting conclusion last Thursday, January 18, leaving football fans buzzing with the flurry of results recorded so far.
What became evident from the very start was that the concept of football giants was gradually losing its grip on modern football. Teams traditionally regarded as underdogs showcased their skills and determination, sending a strong message that they have not come to Cote d’Ivoire merely for sightseeing.
While some teams have managed to maintain their reputation as favorites to win the trophy, such as Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Mali, and Morocco, the other teams in the African top 10 rankings faced formidable opponents who were determined to prove their worth. The matches showcased intense battles and steel resistance from these outsiders, challenging the preconceived notions and expectations of the tournament.
The first playing days in each group witnessed a total of 27 goals being scored in 12 matches, resulting in an average of 2.25 goals per game. This indicates an exciting level of competitiveness and attacking play on display.
Additionally, five matches concluded with a draw, with four of them resulting in 1-1 draws and one ending in a thrilling 2-2 draw.
In terms of discipline, the teams showcased a commendable level of sportsmanship. While there were 46 yellow cards handed out throughout the matches, indicating the competitive nature of the games, it is noteworthy that only three red cards were given.
This suggests that players, for the most part, maintained a fair and respectful approach to the game. Notably, the Tunisia vs. Namibia match stood out as an exemplar of fair play, as it concluded without a single card being shown, highlighting the spirit of sportsmanship and camaraderie within the tournament.
Results of the First Playing Day
Cote d’Ivoire 2-0 Guinée-Bissau
Nigéria 1-1 Guinée Equatoriale
▪️Égyptre 2-2 Mozambique
▪️Ghana 1-2 Cap-Vert
▪️Sénégal 3-0 Gambia
▪️Cameroun 1-1 Guinée
▪️Algérie 1-1 Angola
▪️Burkina Faso 1-0 Mauritanie
▪️Tunisie 0-1 Namibie
▪️Mali 2-0 Afrique du Sud
▪️Maroc 3-0 Tanzanie
▪️RD Congo 1-1 Zambie