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Gabon goalkeeper Jean-Noel Amonome chanelled his inner-Ederson to help his side take the lead against Morocco at the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday evening. Gabon knew victory would mean they finish top of Group C after picking up four points from their first two matches of the tournament. And Amonome ensured they had the perfect start.
The goalkeeper took a long free kick from right on the edge of his own 18-yard area.
The ball bounced well inside the Morroco half and defender Sofian Chakla slipped, allowing Gabon forward Jim Allevinah through on goal.
Allevinah stayed calm and slotted underneath the body of the onrushing Munir in the Morocco goal.
The goal cued wild celebrations from the Gabon players, with some of the substitutes running on the pitch to congratulate Allevinah.
The Morocco players consoled Chakla for his unfortunate error.
But it was Amonome who was the man of the moment.
Gabon led until the 73rd minute, when former Southampton star Sofiane Boufal equalised from the penalty spot.
But they retook the lead less than 10 minutes later through Aaron Salem Boupendza.
Gabon were not among the favourites before the tournament started and were drawn in a tough group that also includes Ghana.
But, despite the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, they managed to grab a draw against Ghana last Friday.
Arsenal star Aubameyang and Nice midfielder Mario Lemina are no longer part of the Gabon squad after heart lesions were detected on the duo after their bout of COVID-19.
Gabon manager Patrice Neveu says Arsenal and Nice put pressure on the country’s football association to allow their players to leave.
“What I know is that they’ve been Covid free for the last 72 hours,” Neveu told Sky Sports.
“We couldn’t arrange an MRI for them, and as a result they couldn’t train.
“It was really annoying for them to stay in their rooms. We made the decision (on Monday) with the president and under pressure from the clubs too, because they’re worried so that (Aubameyang) should go back to Arsenal and Mario (Lemina) back to Nice.
“As you know, he’s a key player for Arsenal, although he’s going through a tough period at the moment. We still have to report to clubs.
“And when a player’s health is affected and as you know they are paid by the club, we have to be reasonable at some point.”
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