Mohamed Bayo scored a last-gasp winner to send Guinea into the last eight of the Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 win over 10-man Equatorial Guinea.
A poor-quality game looked destined for extra time in Abidjan when Bayo headed home from Ibrahim Diakite’s cross with just 22 seconds remaining in the last of eight minutes of stoppage time.
The majority of that time had come from a lengthy VAR check which eventually saw Equatorial Guinea awarded a penalty for a foul by Sekou Sylla on Iban Salvador, only for captain Emilio Nsue to hit the base of a post with his spot-kick.
An early shot narrowly wide from Bayo was the only attempt on goal worthy of mention in an otherwise turgid first half, but the game sprang to life in the second period.
Nsue failed to make the most of a fortunate ricochet just two minutes after the interval as he volleyed wastefully over the bar from 10 yards, while Guinea briefly thought they had broken the deadlock when Mory Konate headed home from a free-kick in the 53rd minute.
The flag was instantly, and correctly, raised for offside, however, but Guinea were handed a man advantage just two minutes later when Federico Bikoro was shown a red card for a high-footed challenge which delivered a painful blow to Bayo’s ribs.
Equatorial Guinea could have been forgiven for playing for extra time but should instead have taken the lead from the penalty spot after Sylla’s foul on Salvador was eventually confirmed following a VAR check.
That gave Nsue the chance to net his sixth goal of the tournament but, after sending goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone the wrong way, the veteran forward could only look on in despair as his shot hit the base of a post.
Despite their numerical advantage Guinea rarely looked like scoring and Jesus Owono comfortably tipped over substitute Serhou Guirassy’s 82nd-minute header, but the deadlock was finally broken in dramatic fashion with Bayo in the perfect place to head a deserved winner.
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