Every team involved in the Africa Cup of Nations 2022 has now played their opening game of the tournament, and there has been some extremely interesting soccer action already. Hosted by Cameroon for the 33rd edition of the cup competition, the AFCON tournament is well & truly underway!
In the opening game of the competition, host nation Cameroon came from behind against Burkina Faso to start their AFCON campaign with three points. The away side went ahead halfway through the first half with a goal from Gustavo Sangaré, but a brace of penalties just before the end of the first 45 from Vincent Aboubakar provided the win for Cameroon.
Following the opening match, Cape Verde punished 10-man Ethiopia to secure a victory in the other game of Group A. A red card for Yared Bayeh Belay in the 12th minute was a major setback for Ethiopia, who struggled from the early stages of the game. A Julio Tavares goal on the stroke of half-time was enough for all three points for Cape Verde.
Current tournament favorites Senegal kicked off their group stage with a tie against Zimbabwe in what turned out to be a tight affair. Despite dominating possession, Senegal scraped through the game with a 97th minute penalty winner, with Sadio Mané converting following a handball in the Zimbabwe box.
Guinea kicked off their AFCON journey with a win in the other game of Group B, defeating Malawi 1-0. With just over 10 minutes left in the first 45 minutes, left-back Issiaga Sylla put his nation ahead, and Guinea managed to hold on to their victory and earn three points.
Morocco earned their reward in their opening clash against Ghana, defeating their opponents 1-0. Morocco’s Sofiane Boufal scored in the 83rd minute, which was enough to see off Ghana in the opening game of Group C. Ghana were unable to get a foothold in the game, and were left with a loss in their group opener.
Following that matchup, Comoros and Gabon battled on the pitch, with Gabon coming out on top. With an early goal from Aaron Boupendza – scoring in the 16th minute – Gabon secured all three points. Comoros were left frustrated, and despite having much more possession & total shots, could not score that all-important goal to earn anything from the game.
In Group D, Sudan and Guinea-Bissau clashed in a very evenly-matched on-field battle. Guinea-Bissau edged the possession stats, but neither side were able to find the back of the net in one of the two stalemates of Matchday 1. A 0-0 draw rewarded the team with a point each in this one.
Elsewhere, two of the top contenders tipped to progress far into AFCON faced each other on the pitch. Nigeria’s Kelechi Ihenacho scored the only goal of the game on the half-hour mark, defeating Egypt 1-0 in an exciting game. Nigeria dominated total shots, having 15 in total – in comparison to Egypt’s 4.
Group E kicked off with the first draw of the competition, with Algeria & Sierra Leone unable to get a name on the scoresheet. It was Algeria that dominated the game, but couldn’t get their reward by the end of the 90 minutes. Instead, both teams left the pitch with a point apiece.
With the other game in Group E a day later, Ivory Coast capitalized on the other result to take the top spot in the group early. Max-Alain Gradel netted the only goal of the game, that came in the 5th minute of the match. Equatorial Guinea couldn’t respond with a goal for themselves, resulting in a 1-0 win for Ivory Coast.
With an extremely bizarre ending to the game, it was Mali that came away with a 1-0 victory over Tunisia. However, this was overshadowed by the controversy towards the end of the game, with the referee blowing up for full-time on the 85th minute of the game. The match was restarted, before the referee blew his final whistle for the second time – this time at 89:47.
In the other game of Group F, it was a much less controversial affair. Gambia scored early against Mauritania, thanks to forward Ablie Jallow. One goal was enough for Gambia, who managed to secure all three points on Matchday 1.
AFCON Betting Odds
The AFCON action is coming thick & fast, with the rest of the group stages still all to be played within the next 8 days. Fortunately, there are plenty of betting markets & betting odds across a number of online US sportsbooks for you to take advantage of & explore!
Focusing on FanDuel – one of the leading online US betting sites available – there’s an extensive selection of single match betting markets for you to bet on. On top of that, there are currently group winner markets available, as well as outright winner of the soccer tournament. There’s also a top goalscorer market available (host nation’s Vincent Aboubakar – with two goals to his name already – is currently at +270!).
Be sure to check your preferred bookie, too - it’s more than likely that they will offer some soccer betting markets for the AFCON tournament over the next few weeks - make the most of some generous odds available!
Jordan Noble is a writer that really enjoys discussing anything in and around the world of sports. He’s in his element when talking about sports, and has an ever-growing portfolio of sports news, features and reviews. When he’s not writing, you’ll find Jordan playing football – American football, that is.
He knows Manchester United are the biggest club in the world. He says that it’s just straight up facts. He loves a fight, whether that’s inside an octagon, or between the ropes, he’ll be interested.