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AFCON 2019 UNDERDOGS UPSET BIG GUNS IN FIRST BATCH OF GROUP STAGE MATCHES

Patrick Kaddu of Uganda scores goal, challenged by Oarfait Mandanda of DR Congo during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between DR Congo and Uganda  at the Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 22 June 2019 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Group A witnessed the first shock of the competition as the Cranes of Uganda earned a 2-0 win over a more-fancied DR Congo side to find themselves top of the group ahead of host nation Egypt by virtue of goals scored – the Pharaohs managed a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in the tournament opener.
Patrick Kaddu of Uganda (r) celebrates goal  during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between DR Congo and Uganda at the Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 22 June 2019 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Uganda’s impressive result on June 22 was followed by Burundi holding their own against the might of Nigeria before finally succumbing as substitute Odion Ighalo scored a late winner to give the Super Eagles a 1-0 win in Alexandria.
While Burundi would be encouraged by their display against the three-time champions, the task of qualifying from Group B does not look like one that would be easy going by the other result from the group which saw debutants Madagascar come from a goal down to lead Guinea 2-1 before a penalty scored by Francois Kamano left the Madagasy side having to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Like the Guineans, Tunisia had similar trouble when the Carthage Eagles came up against Angola in Group E as Youssef Msakni’s 34th minute penalty was cancelled out by captain Djalma Campos’ 73rd minute goal to earn a 1-1 draw for the Palancas Negras.
Yassine Merriah of Tunisia challenged by Djalma Campos of Angola during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Tunisia and Angola at Suez Army Stadium, Suez, Egypt on 24 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
The upsets continued in the Group E clash between west African rivals, Ghana and Benin Republic, in which the Squirrels had a Mikael Pote brace to thank for battling to a thrilling 2-2 draw with the four-time AFCON champions in Ismaila.
Ghana captain Andre Ayew and Benin captain Abdou Adenon shake hands before the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals game between Ghana and Benin at Ismailia Stadium in Ismailia, Egypt on 25 June 2019 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Andre Ayew had set a record as Ghana’s top scorer in AFCON finals with his ninth minute equaliser to Pote’s second minute opener, before Ayew’s younger brother, Jordan, put the Black Stars ahead in the 42nd minute.
A John Boye red card in the 55th minute reduced Ghana to 10 men and Benin duly made the man advantage count as Pote got his second of the tie and take an early lead in the Golden Boot award race alongside Adama Traore who scored twice to help Mali claim a resounding 4-1 win over Mauritania in Group E.
Image result for john boye red card afcon 2019
Mali turned out to be the biggest winners from the first phase of group stage matches, with defending champions Cameroon and one of the tournament favourites Senegal following closely with respective 2-0 wins over Guinea-Bissau and Tanzania.
Two more favourites for the AFCON 2019 title, Ivory Coast and Morocco, dominated their Group D clashes with South Africa and Namibia respectively but, just like Nigeria, had to be content with 1-0 wins in their own matches.
Serge Aurier of Ivory Coast is tackled by Themba Zwane of South Africa during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals game between Ivory Coast and South Africa at Al Salam Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 24 June 2019 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix
Will the AFCON 2019 underdogs that impressed in their first matches in Egypt keep up the trend or are we going to see the big guns getting wins? 
cc:Dailyadvent

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