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2023 AFCON Qualifying: Debutants lift Guinea-Bissau to a comeback victory over Sierra Leone

Monday’s only match from 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying ended with a positive result for Guinea-Bissau, who defeated Sierra Leone by a 2-1 score at the Estádio Nacional 24 de Setembro in Bissau to complete a successful qualification campaign. A header from Nito Gomes leveled the score for the hosts and Guinea-Bissau debutant Franculino Djú put the Djurtus ahead for good early in the second half. Sierra Leone, eliminated from contention to qualify before the match, opened the scoring through Amadou Bakayoko.

There was nothing at stake regarding qualification but the match served as a good opportunity for Guinea-Bissau head coach Baciro Candé to observe several new talented players in his team. However, it was a difficult start for the Djurtus who fell behind in the 6th minute when Bakayoko leaped up to head in the opening goal from a corner kick service by Emmanuel Samadia.

The hosts struck back later in the first half and one of the new arrivals was involved. Carlos Mané, an attacker who previously represented Portugal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, curled in a free kick from the wing to find Nito for a header that looped into the goal far beyond the reach of Leone Stars keeper Mohamed Kamara.

19-year-old former Benfica youth product Franculino also made his debut and the FC Midjytlland striker gave the Djurtus the lead soon after halftime. The powerful forward ran onto a pass from yet another debutant, Famana Quizera, and showed patience in the penalty area before firing past Kamara. Sierra Leone made it a close match and pushed for a late leveler but came just shy with Augustus Kargbo notably hitting the post in the final minutes.

Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria are the teams who qualified for the finals in Ivory Coast out of Group A. Video of the goals from the match are below.

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