AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Guinea-Bissau close to booking ticket with win over Sao Tome 

AFCON 2023 Qualifiers: Guinea-Bissau close to booking ticket with win over Sao Tome 

The Group A of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifiers is shaping up to be a blockbuster one as West African side Guinea Bissau edge closer to securing a spot in next year’s tournament following a 1-0 win over Sao Tome and Principe on Wednesday.

The Djurtus, who went into the game in second place with seven points, picked up all available points at the Estadio de 24 Setembro to leapfrog Nigeria, who face Sierra Leone later this week, into first position in the group standings.

Belgium-based forward Zinho Gano scored the deciding goal of the match as Guinea-Bissau recorded their third win of the group and their second against Sao Tome.

The first half was a cagey affair, with neither side creating any clear-cut opportunities. However, Mama Balde, who got their only goal in the famous victory over the Super Eagles in Abuja on matchday 3, had the bulk of Guinea-Bissau’s chances, but he failed to register a shot on target.

The second half was a different story, as the Djurtus stepped up their effort and came out guns blazing. It finally paid off ten minutes after the restart when Gano, who came on as a second-half substitute, replacing Piqueti Silva, converted a close-range effort to capitalize on an error from Sao Tome goalkeeper Albertino Chum after the latter had spilled a shot from Euciodalcio Gomes.

The goal provided much-needed respite for the Djurtus, who controlled possession more and cruised throughout the game but were unable to find a second goal.

The win, however important, failed to seal their appearance in the 2023 AFCON in Ivory Coast, as they will be relying on Nigeria to help defeat the Leone Stars at the Samuel Kanyon Doe Stadium in Monrovia, Liberia, this Sunday.

Guinea-Bissau will face Sierra Leone in matchday 6, the final round of qualifying matches, in September.

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