After missing numerous opportunities the most unlikely player provided the match winner for Gabon in Libreville when Lloyd Palun’s goal gave the Panthers a 1-0 victory over Sudan in 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying on Thursday. Palun’s first international goal in 74 appearances moved Gabon to the top of Group I on seven points from three matches and a step closer to clinching qualification for the finals in Ivory Coast. Sudan remain on three points in third position, one point back of Mauritania who will face DR Congo on Friday.
The hosts dominated from start to finish but Sudan managed to escape conceding a goal on numerous occasions. Jim Allevinah, Denis Bouanga and Aaron Boupendza constantly created danger but lacked the finishing touch to beat Sudan goalkeeper Mohamed Mustafa, who came up with a couple of excellent saves. Mustafa was at his best when the Al-Merrikh shot stopper denied a close range effort after a Sudanese defender passed right to Boupendza in the penalty area.
Eventually the breakthrough came for the Panthers in the 71st minute when Guelor Kanga collected the ball on the left flank and sent in a cross to the penalty spot. Three Gabonese players attacked Kanga’s service and it appeared that Alan Do Marcolino’s touch went off Palun’s chest on its way past Mustafa for the game’s only goal.
Highlights from the match are below.