On Sunday evening the final round of group A fixtures were held. No team had sealed qualification into the next round and everything was still to play for. The host nation found themselves with an unfavourable task as they had to beat Cameroon in a do-or-die fixture. In the other, simultaneous kick off, Burkina Faso faced a tough encounter against a Guinea Bissau looking to make history by progressing for the first time.
As all four teams remained in contention there were plenty of permutations to keep up to date with. The Indomitable Lions, however, only needed a point as they hoped to book a quarterfinal berth. In the capital Libreville Gabon came out like a house on fire. A partisan crowd thought Pierre Emerick Aubameyang had scored the opener but the Borussia Dortmund speedster somehow missed what should have been a tap in. After that moment, the game became a sloppy affair as both teams struggled to hold on to possession.
In the other game from the Stade de Franceville, Burkina Faso looked to assert their authority from the onset and with barely 10 minutes on the clock the Burkinabe took the lead. A moment of confusion between the Guinea Bissau centre back Rudinilson Silva and the goalkeeper saw the Wild Dogs fall behind.
As the half progressed Guinea Bissau looked to have come back into the game as they created numerous chances but Herve Koffi in the Burkinabe goal was exemplary. The ASEC Mimosa goalkeeper has been one of the outstanding performers at the tournament.
The half time whistle sounded in both games and as things stood Cameroon and Burkina Faso would go through. Gabon knew that they needed an improved performance in the second half if they wanted to progress.
The second half resumed both in Libreville and Franceville with all four teams knowing what they needed to do to qualify for the knockout stages. Back in Franceville in the 56th minute Bertrand Traore grabbed the Burkinabe’s second goal. The attacking midfielder on loan at Eredivisie’s Ajax from Chelsea did well to steer his shot past the Guinea Bissau goalkeeper. The goal virtually eliminated Guinea Bissau and guaranteed Burkina Faso qualification from the group.
News of the goal reached Libreville and Les Pantheres knew they had to throw everything including the kitchen sink at the Cameroonian goal. But it was a frustrating night for the host nation in front of goal with their best chance coming in stoppage time. However, Sevilla B goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa made a miraculous save that dashed the hopes of the host nation.
With the final whistle blown in both games, Group A was concluded with Cameroon and Burkina Faso qualified for the quarterfinals, while hosts Gabon and debutants Guinea Bissau were eliminated.