TOTAL AFCON 2019 WEEK 1 ROUNDUP
The long-awaited Total AFCON 2019 kicked off on June 21 in the 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium with an exquisite opening ceremony, followed by the opening game: Egypt vs. Zimbabwe. After 18 matches and 39 goals, we’re now exactly halfway through the group stages. As we move into the all-important second week, here are a few takeaways from the first week of action.
Uganda registers its first tournament win in 41 years, and hosts Egypt qualify from Group A
After narrowly beating Zimbabwe 1-0 in the tournament’s opening game, hosts and title favorites Egypt moved up a gear to beat the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) 2-0 and became the second team after Nigeria to qualify for the round of 16. Uganda, currently second with four points, ended its 41-year AFCON drought with a win over DR Congo, before sharing the points with Zimbabwe after an exciting 1-1 draw.
Algeria beat title contenders Senegal, and Madagascar won the clash of the debutants
Group C offered fans some exciting football with Kenya coming back from a goal down, twice in one match, to beat Tanzania and keep their Total AFCON hopes alive. However, the biggest surprise of the Group was the Algeria-Senegal match. Algeria defeated title contenders Senegal with a lone goal from Youcef Belaili to qualify for the last 16. Senegal is still expected to go through to the next round—as long as they avoid defeat against Kenya.
Madagascar, who are playing in their first AFCON tournament ever, trumped fellow debutants Burundi 1-0, to register their first ever win. The team is now on four points from two games and is likely to make it to the next round—a great performance for a country that has never played at the AFCON before!
Narrow wins for the favorites in Group D as Morocco test their luck
Morocco, who took part in last year’s World Cup and are undefeated in matches against African teams since 2017, scraped through to a narrow 1-0 win over Namibia thanks to an 89th-minute own-goal by Namibian substitute Itamunua Keimuine. In the group’s other game, Ivory Coast took home three points, as was widely expected, but only managed one goal in their match against South Africa. The fate of one of the tournament’s toughest groups is still being decided, but the two group favorites are on the top.
Thanks to the new format, where 16 out of the 24 teams make it to the next round, there is still much to play for. Stay tuned!
Here are the full results from the first week:
Egypt 1-0 Zimbabwe
Nigeria 1-0 Burundi
Algeria 2-0 Kenya
Morocco 1-0 Namibia
Tunisia 1-1 Angola
Cameroon 2-0 Guinea-Bissau