Cameroon advance to ANC q-finals at Gabon's expense
There was agony for Gabon yesterday morning (Singapore time) as the African Nations Cup hosts were condemned to a group-stage exit following a goalless draw with Cameroon in Libreville.
Star man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was guilty of a glaring early miss, while Denis Bouanga broke down in tears at the end after hitting the post at the death as the Panthers played out a third draw in as many games.
Despite ending the group stage unbeaten, Gabon become just the fourth host nation and the first since Tunisia in 1994 to be eliminated in the group stage.
In contrast, Cameroon, after a build-up to the competition marred by the withdrawals of key players, go through to the last eight as runners-up in Group A.
Burkina Faso won the group thanks to their 2-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau, who bow out without a win in their first-ever appearance at the African Nations Cup, in the other game in Franceville.
Aubameyang had scored in each of the Panthers' opening two games, but they could only draw 1-1 against both tournament debutants Guinea-Bissau and Burkina Faso.
Coach Jose Antonio Camacho - a last-minute appointment to the job - refused to be drawn on his future as he blamed bad luck for his team's fate.
"I am sorry for the fans and for the team. We went out to win the game, but football is not fair," said Camacho in reference to Bouanga's last-gasp miss.
"It is too soon to talk about the future. We are sad that we have not gone through."
French-born striker Aubameyang bemoaned a poor build-up to the tournament which included a training camp which was late in starting.
"I am really proud of everyone, because everybody gave his all," he said.
"I thought we were stronger than every other team in the group.
"But it was everything, the preparation, the change of coach, it wasn't easy."
Cameroon will play Senegal in their quarter-final tie in Franceville this Sunday, while Burkina Faso will face the runners-up in Group B in Libreville. - AFP