few goals, a few tears and a lot of shame (Report J1)

At the end of the 1time day of the group stage of CAN 2021, the time has come to draw a first provisional assessment, not necessarily very positive.

Few goals…

One 2-1, nine 1-0s and two 0-0s: with 12 goals scored in 12 games, the 1time day turned out to be particularly unprolific and spectacular. This average of one goal per game is simply the second lowest average for a first day of CAN since 1996 and the transition to 16 teams (after 0.63 goals in 2002).

A few tears…

Despite everything, we were treated to beautiful emotions, with in particular the tears of Mohamed Kamara, anonymous goalkeeper and unlikely hero of Sierra Leone, overwhelmed by emotion and incredulous when receiving his man of the match title at the from his many parades against Algeria (0-0). The tears also of a much more experienced player, Max-Alain Gradel, whose goal scored a few days after the death of his father enabled Côte d’Ivoire to launch their CAN against Equatorial Guinea (1-0).

A lot of shame…

Between Burkina Faso’s controversial positive Covid-19 tests from the opening match and the assault on three Algerian journalists in Douala, this CAN did not start in the best way from day one. But it was Wednesday that the peak was reached with the « show » of referee Janny Sikawze, who took confusing decisions and spoiled the end of the Tunisia-Mali match (0-1), then the failures on the anthem of Mauritania who offered a deplorable image of African football.

Nigeria and Gambia, favorites

If Algeria disappointed, if Senegal and Morocco were hot and if Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire did not shine, on the other hand, Nigeria showed a very attractive face to beat Egypt (1 -0). Gambia’s victory in their first CAN match against Mauritania (1-0) was also refreshing. Despite their difficulties during the last half hour and the incredible end to the match, Mali also showed great things against Tunisia.

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