2023 U-23 AFCON: Niger frustrate holders Egypt, Mali stage comeback win against Gabon: Round One results of Group B

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Holders Egypt were held to a scoreless draw by debutant Niger in the opening Group B game at the 2023 TotalEnergies U23 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Morocco on Sunday.

Egypt dominated the first 45 minutes and were denied from taking the lead by a resilient defending and poor finishing from skipper Ibrahim Adel Aly Mohamed and Mohamed.

The reigning champions continued to dominate the game in the second half but Niger who barely attacked throughout the game defended faultlessly to hold them to a draw.

Mali came from a goal down to beat Gabon 3-1 in the second Group B game of the ongoing AFCON.

Gabon went ahead after just three minutes from a penalty confidently dispatched by Emmanuel Ovono.

Mali dumped the early setback and leveled the score in the 20th minute. Mamadou Sangaré converted a spot-kick which came from a serious challenge from goalkeeper François Junior Bekale.

In the 41st minute, Cheickna Doumbia scored to put Mali ahead. Just minutes to end the first half, Gabon’s wounds was compounded when goalkeeper, François Junior Bekale, was sent off.

Mali rounded the game off in additional time of the first half, substitutes Alassane Tamboura and Coli Saco combined to wrap up the win for their team, 3-1.

The competition will continue in Group A on Tuesday, June 27, Congo host Guinea and Morocco play Ghana. In Group B on Wednesday, June 28, Egypt will play Mali, and Gabon face Niger.

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