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Gabon and Gambia clinch Africa Cup of Nations qualification with shutout home victories

Gabon and Gambia obtained decisive victories at home to clear the final hurdle and clinch their spots in the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations. Les Panthères showed no mercy in their 3-0 result against DR Congo with Aaron Boupendza’s quality strike contributing to the start of a Congolese defensive breakdown. In Banjul, the Scorpions of Gambia dominated Angola before finding their 62nd winner through FC Zurich player Assan Ceesay. It is a massive achievement for Gambia as this will be their first participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

The Congolese continued a theme that has featured throughout qualifying of lacking fluidity and Thursday saw the end result of their underperformance in Libreville. Attacking efforts by the Leopards were flailing at best and did not pick up until it was too late. Boupendza’s 44th minute strike was a culmination of Gabonese dominance when the Turkish Super Lig top scorer collected a pass from Guelor Kanga, performing a stepover before slamming an unstoppable shot into the top corner.

Gabon’s dynamic duo of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Denis Bouanga connected for the 72nd minute insurance goal. As the DRC threw numbers forward to find goals Aubameyang slipped a through ball to Bouanga who pulled away from the defense and put his shot under Leopards goalkeeper Joel Kissambua. The celebrations started in earnest when star Aubameyang finished the scoring in the 86th, feasting on poor set piece defending to collect and smash his shot in.

In the other match Gambia had to be a bit patient but kept their nerve to deliver the necessary three points. A draw would have left qualification on the line for the Scorpions with a tense road game against DR Congo but it only seemed a matter of time before the goal would come against Angola. A 62nd focused buildup from Gambia brought the winner when a shot from outside the box was saved into the ground by Angola goalkeeper Hugo Marques, where Ceesay pounced on the bouncing rebound to send Banjul into pandemonium.

Highlights of both matches are below.

Gabon 3-0 DR Congo (For USA/Canada readers)

Gabon 3-0 DR Congo (For international readers)

Gambia 1-0 Angola

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