Match report and free highlights as Pablo Ganet's 38th-minute strike ensures Equatorial Guinea finish second in Group E and progress; Sierra Leone's veteran striker Kei Kamara misses late penalty to scupper chances of reaching the last 16
Thursday 20 January 2022 20:46, UK
Sierra Leone's veteran striker Kei Kamara missed a late penalty to scupper their chances of reaching the next round of the Africa Cup of Nations as they lost 1-0 to Equatorial Guinea on Thursday.
Pablo Ganet's 38th-minute strike ensured Equatorial Guinea finished second in Group E and progressed, but Sierra Leone might have gone through as one of the best third-placed finishers if they had forced a draw.
They were awarded a last-minute penalty, but Kamara's effort was saved by Equatorial Guineas 20-year-old goalkeeper Jesus Owono.
The result also means the Comoros Islands are through as one of the best third-placed finishers after their surprise 3-2 win over Ghana on Tuesday.
Equatorial Guinea finished the first round with a second successive win and six points, one behind group winners Ivory Coast.
Sierra Leone were third on two points with defending champions Algeria bottom of the standings.
"To come second in this strong group is a real achievement for us," said Equatorial Guinea captain Carlos Akapo.
Gannet struck at the end of a clever corner routine as the Sierra Leone defence backed off and allowed him to thrash the ball home from the edge of the penalty area.
Sierra Leone needed to score to stay in the tournament but struggled with fatigue and created few chances before substitute Issa Kallon was bought down.
Sierra Leone celebrated the awarding of the penalty as if they had scored, but watched in horror as Kamara's effort was saved by Owono.
The match ended seven minutes into stoppage time when Equatorial Guineas Iban Salvador was given a penalty after being tripped in the final attack of the game, but the referee changed the decision to a free kick on the edge of the area after several minutes' delay on the advice of VAR.
Equatorial Guinea have now gone through to the knockout stages in all three of their tournament appearances and will meet the winners of Group F, to be decided later on Thursday, in Limbe next Wednesday.
"The penalty miss is difficult to take, it could have changed everything for us," Sierra Leone coach John Keister said.
Sunday January 23
Game 1: Burkina Faso vs Gabon, 4pm (Limbe Stadium, Limbe) - Live on Sky Sports Football
Game 2: Nigeria vs Group B/E/F third-place, 7pm (Roumde Adjia Stadium, Garoua) - Live on Sky Sports Mix
Monday January 24
Game 3: Guinea vs Group F runner-up, 4pm (Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam) - Live on Sky Sports Football
Game 4: Cameroon vs Group C/D/E third-place, 7pm (Olembe Stadium, Yaounde) - Live on Sky Sports Premier League
Tuesday January 25
Game 5: Senegal vs Cape Verde, 4pm (Kouekong Stadium, Bafoussam) - Live on Sky Sports Football
Game 6: Morocco vs Malawi, 7pm (Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo, Yaounde) - Live on Sky Sports Football
Wednesday January 26
Game 7: Ivory Coast vs Egypt, 4pm (Japoma Stadium, Douala) - Live on Sky Sports Football
Game 8: Group F winner vs Equatorial Guinea, 7pm (Limbe Stadium, Limbe) - Live on Sky Sports Premier League
The Africa Cup of Nations tournament will be broadcast live on Sky Sports in January and February.
The tournament, originally scheduled to be played in June and July 2021, will be played in Cameroon between January 9 and February 6, 2022, with Sky Sports showing all 52 games live.
Twenty-four teams will take part, kicking off on January 9 as hosts Cameroon host Burkina Faso in Yaounde, before culminating in the final on February 6 in the capital.