AFCON 2023 Matchday 3 roundup: Algeria, Cameroon off to a slow start

The Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2023) is currently in full swing, and we've been treated to some mouthwatering clashes so far.

Matchday 2 wasn't particularly pleasant for some of the biggest teams in Africa. Three-time AFCON champions Nigeria, four-time champions Ghana and seven-time champions Egypt were all favourites in their respective games, but were unable to win.

Just like Matchday 2, there were three games played on Matchday 3, and here's is a quick recap:

Monday's AFCON 2023 talking points

Business as usual for Senegal

Pape Alassane Gueye of Senegal celebrates his AFCON 2023 goal with teammates
in Yamoussoukro, Cote dlvoire on 15 January 2024 – Photo by Icon Sport

As defending champions, Senegal were one of the favourites to hoist AFCON 2023 before the start of the tournament.

The Lions of Teranga began their title defence against Gambia, a team they had not lost to in 23 previous encounters.

It didn't take long for Senegal to get ahead, as Pape Gueye drew first blood just before the 5-minute mark. Although Gambia tried to get back on level terms, they were mostly inefficient in front of goal, with just one of their seven first-half shots going on target.

Gambia's Ebou Adams received his marching orders just before the half-time whistle, due to an off-the-ball foul on Senegal's Lamine Camara. This was the first red card of the tournament.

Lamine Camara scored a brace in the second half, ensuring the Lions of Teranga would extend their winning streak at the AFCON to five games.

Short-handed Guinea hold on for a point

Cameroon squared off against Guinea in Monday's second game. While the Syli National were the underdogs, they opened the scoring just 10 minutes into the game.

Rigobert Song's men tried to restore parity before the half-time break, but despite having almost 70% of the ball, they couldn't register a shot on target.

However, Guinea were reduced to 10 men before the break, as captain François Kamano was sent off in the first half's stoppage time.

The Indomitable Lions were able to claw their way back into the game, thanks to Frank Magri's equaliser six minutes into the second half.

Despite being short-handed, the Syli National were able to hold their own in a 1-1 draw.

Algeria's abysmal run at the AFCON continues

Algeria had a perfect run at AFCON 2019, where they won seven consecutive matches en route to the title. However, their title defence didn't go as well as they had hoped, as they finished last in their AFCON 2021 group, with one point from a possible nine.

Djamel Belmadi's troops came into this tournament on the back of four consecutive wins, and were on a quest to put an end to their winless streak at the Nations Cup.

Sure enough, Baghdad Bounedjah gave the Fennec Foxes the lead but they couldn't keep it. Angola's Mabululu converted from the spot, ensuring both teams would share the spoils.

Algeria are now on a four-match winless run at the AFCON.

Play of the day

Our play of the day is centred on Senegal's third goal by Lamine Camara.

What's next?

Burkina Faso and Mauritania will meet in the other Group D game. Also, Tunisia will take on Namibia in Group E‘s opening game, with Mali vs South Africa closing out Matchday 4.

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Kelechi Udoka

Kelechi is an avid Enyimba fan who enjoys writing about the beautiful game. He has written thousands of articles for a few publications over the years.