Sunday 18th January , 2015 7:48 am
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Gabon began their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a win over 2013 runners-up Burkina Faso to go top of Group A.
Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with a cool finish from inside the penalty area before the break.
Burkina Faso were dangerous throughout with Vitesse Arnhemâ€™s Chelsea loanee Bertrand Traore being denied by goalkeeper Didier Ovono in both halves.
But Malick Evouna sealed the win with a 72nd-minute header.
The win puts Gabon top of Group A after the other game in the groupÂ ended in 1-1 draw between hosts Equatorial Guinea and Congo earlier in the day.
After winning only two of their first 26 Nations Cup matches, Burkina Faso went all the way to the final in 2013 before defeat by Nigeria.
They started the 2015 tournament encouragingly as 19-year-old Traore, on loan at Dutch side Vitesse this season, saw a fierce volley parried away by goalkeeper Didier Ovono.
But, against the run of play, Aubameyang showed his quality as he kept his cool to side-foot the ball into the net after Andre Pokoâ€™s pass.
Counting penalty shootout defeats as draws, Gabon have lost only one of their last eight Africa Cup of Nations matches but were slightly fortunate to be ahead at the break as Traore threatened constantly.
It was Burkina Faso who again looked more likely to score after the interval but, after Traoreâ€™s close-range shot was blocked by Ovono, Gabon made sure of victory.
Charltonâ€™s Frederic Bulot advanced down down the right and his cross was headed home by Evouna to seal victory.
Burkina Faso coach Paul Put: â€œWe dominated the first half and created clear chances, but unfortunately Didier Ovono was very strong today and he won the points for Gabon.
â€œIf you canâ€™t score goals, you canâ€™t win matches. Thatâ€™s the rule of this game. â€œItâ€™s a shame, but thatâ€™s the way it is. In the second half we tried to keep going and had more chances. You need luck and patience in front of goal if you are to score, but that wasnâ€™t the case for us.â€
– See more at: http://www.citifmonline.com/2015/01/18/gabon-begin-afcon-campaign-burkina-faso-win/#sthash.YcidrsMq.dpuf