Guinea got off to a winning but unconvincing start at the Africa Cup of Nations as they edged past Malawi with a 1-0 win on Monday.
A stylish goal from Issiaga Sylla was enough to seal the points, but they were made to work hard by a side playing at just the third finals in their history.
Indeed, it was Malawi who had by far the better of the early chances and would have gone ahead had Yamikani Chester kept his composure and then kept his feet when twice through on goal.
Ibrahima Conte hit the post with a header before Sylla broke the deadlock, steering home first time after Jose Kante had been found by a good ball from Liverpool’s Naby Keita.
Experienced Guinea goalkeeper Aly Keita was called on to deny Malawi captain Limbikani Mzava and Peter Banda before half-time as Malawi, ranked 129th in the world and unable even to name a full substitutes’ bench, continued to threaten.
Guinea took greater control in a second half short on chances as they took a positive step towards qualifying from Group B.
However, the level of their performance did little to belie the 2.28 per cent chance of winning the tournament that Opta’s predictor tool gave them before kick-off, and coach Kaba Diawara will hope for better when they face Senegal on Friday.
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