AFCON 2023: Equatorial Guinea stun hosts in resounding 4-0 victory to top Group A

Abidjan, (CIV): Equatorial Guinea delivered a masterclass performance, decimating tournament hosts, Cote d’Ivoire, with a 4-0 triumph at Ebimpe’s Alassane Ouattara Olympic Stadium on Monday to finish top of Group A with 7 points.

The nightmare unfolded for Cote d’Ivoire as they faced a relentless Equatorial Guinea side, led by Juan Micha. Emilio Nsue’s brace, complemented by goals from Pablo Ganet and Jannick Buyla, left the home crowd in disbelief.

The Elephants began with crowd support but struggled with accuracy, missing crucial goal-scoring opportunities. Nsue’s clinical finish in the 41st minute broke the deadlock, putting Equatorial Guinea in the lead.

Despite Cote d’Ivoire’s efforts in the second half, Equatorial Guinea, with a resolute defence and VAR assistance, denied them goals.

Pablo Ganet’s stunning free-kick in the 72nd minute doubled the lead, while Nsue’s swift counterattack added a third. Jannick Buyla’s rebounded effort sealed the emphatic 4-0 victory.

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Jean-Louis Gasset, the Cote d’Ivoire coach, candidly admitted the setbacks saying; “We have an efficiency problem. In 180 minutes, we didn’t score a goal, and yet we made substitutes to have more attackers.”

“Today the result was catastrophic, I know that I am the main responsible person,” he admitted.

On the other side, Juan Micha, Equatorial Guinea’s coach, reflected on their strategy: “We knew that the opponent had a lot of pressure, we took that into account when putting our strategy in place. With our humility, we made the effort to reach as far as possible,” he said.

Expressing empathy for Cote d’Ivoire, Micha acknowledged the harsh reality of football:

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“Regarding Cote d’Ivoire, I am hurt because it is the organizing country but it is football. I believe that the objective is to go through the different stages until the end. We must forget this match and plan for the rest of the competition.” He concluded.

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