A second half Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal gave Gabon a 1-0 victory over Tunisia in the Africa Cup of Nations on Tuesday.
Tunisia were the better side in the opening stages, controlling the midfield and applying pressure on the home team with Youssef Msakni initially thriving in a more central role than he has played in previous matches.
It took 20 minutes for Gabon to get into the match by winning some corners and relying on long balls played towards the physically imposing Daniel Cousin.
Their most notable opportunity came near the end of the half when Tunisian goalkeeper Rami Jeridi misjudged a cross that was almost steered in by an onrushing Bruno Mbanangoye Zita.
The second half started much like the first, with Tunisia playing their best brand of possession football, but still they lacked the crucial final touch.
Sami Trabelsi’s men continued their domination until the 64th minute when a Gabon counter attack concluded with Aubameyang beating Jeridi.
Newly energised, the Gabonese could have scored a second when the Tunisian goalkeeper made another mess of a save attempt, dropping the ball into Cousin’s path but Bilel Ifa recovered well to cover up his team-mate’s mistake.
Gabon top Group C and will face the second-placed side in Group D, while Tunisia will be taking on the top team from the same pool, which will be decided on Wednesday.
In the other Group C match, Morocco left it late to secure their first win of their campaign, triumphing 1-0 over a respectable Niger side in Libreville.
Eric Gerets made seven changes following Morocco’s 3-2 loss to Tunisia, bringing in Marouane Chamakh and Mbark Boussoufa in an attempt to give his side more firepower.
However, it was Younes Belhanda who proved to be the difference as his 79th-minute strike ensured that Morocco finished the tournament on a positive.
Morocco exit the tournament after losing their first two games to Gabon and Tunisia, while Niger leave having lost all three of their matches.
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