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Senegal dominates Gambia in AFCON 2023 opener

Sadio Mane celebrates goal against The Gambia
Sadio Mane celebrating goal against The Gambia

Defending their CAF Africa Cup of Nations title, Senegal kicked off their campaign with a commanding 3-0 triumph over The Gambia at Stade Charles Konan Banny in Yamoussoukro. Pape Gueye’s early goal, assisted by Sadio Mane, set the tone, followed by a second-half brace from Lamine Camara.

Despite The Gambia’s efforts to regroup, Senegal’s resolute defense thwarted any comeback attempts. The situation worsened for The Scorpions when Ebrima Adams received a red card for a harsh tackle on Lamine Camara just before halftime.
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Returning from the break, the reigning champions maintained their dominance, denying The Gambia any chances of a comeback with their numerical advantage. Lamine Camara’s impressive brace, featuring a spectacular strike from the edge of the box, secured a 3-0 victory, propelling the Lions of Teranga to the top of Group C and sending a strong message to their competitors.

Next on the agenda for the defending champions is an eagerly anticipated clash against the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon on Friday, 19 January.
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Angola hold Algeria to 1-1 draw

Algeria joined the ranks of 2023 Africa Cup of Nations teams facing a slow start to the tournament as they were held to a draw by Angola. Despite Baghdad Bounedjah giving them the lead in the first half of the Group D match, Mabululu’s penalty on the hour mark leveled the score.

Following in the footsteps of Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon, Algeria failed to secure a victory in their opening match. Burkina Faso and Mauritania are set to kick off their Group D campaigns on Tuesday.

Mabululu's penalty on the hour mark leveled the score
Mabululu’s penalty on the hour mark leveled the score

Algeria, led by former Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez, who captained the team, had won the Afcon in 2019 and entered this game as favorites. Despite dominating possession and chances in the first half with 16 shots and 66% possession, they struggled to break down a resilient Angola side. Bounedjah found the net when sent clear by a long ball from midfield, showing clever finishing with the outside of his right foot. Although he seemed to score a spectacular second with an overhead kick, it was disallowed for offside.
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The missed opportunities came back to haunt Algeria when Nabil Bentaleb, former Tottenham midfielder, conceded a penalty in their area. Mabululu converted from the spot, with his effort hitting the crossbar and bouncing down over the line. Algeria’s next challenge is against Burkina Faso on January 20, while Angola faces Mauritania later the same day.