AFCON 2024 MD6 roundup: First hat-trick in 16 years, Nigeria beat hosts

The second round of Africa Cup of Nations games kicked off on Thursday with three exhilarating encounters that treated fans across the continent and beyond to a football feast. Two Group A games and one from Group B were on the menu.

Nsue is AFCON 2024 leading scorer

Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau started the day's fixtures, with the Nzalang Nacional clinching a 4-2 victory. Captain Emiliano Nsue scored a remarkable hat-trick, a first in the competition since 2008. The former Middlesbrough player opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, but an own goal by Fernandez levelled things moments later.

But 34-year-old Nsue had other plans for the second half.

Nsue is AFCON 2024 leading scorer
Photo by Icon Sport

He found the back of the net twice to complete his hat-trick after Jose Miranda's goal had given them the lead immediately after the restart. Jose Correia managed to pull one back for Guinea-Bissau but it was not enough.

Eagles soar over Elephants

The highly-anticipated clash between Ivory Coast and Nigeria fulfilled its promise, ending in a 1-0 win for a disciplined Super Eagles side.

The first half saw less action, with Seko Fofana posing the main threat to the Super Eagles, and goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali making crucial saves to keep them in the game. Victor Osimhen had the clearest chance for Nigeria but missed the target.

Nigeria took the lead with a William Troost-Ekong penalty after Victor Osimhen was fouled in the box. Ivory Coast exerted pressure in pursuit of an equalizer, but the Super Eagles defended resolutely to secure the win.

Ghana and Egypt serve up a fest

The last game of the day involved Ghana and Egypt who both had underwhelming starts to the tournament, securing draws in their respective games.

This encounter switched up several notches immediately after the forceful withdrawal of Liverpool star Mohammed Salah. Ghana popped up a minute after that with a well-taken goal by West Ham's Mohammed Kudus to go into the break a goal ahead.

The second half was explosive, with a slew of errors playing a huge role. Omar Mamoush got Egypt back to level terms in the 69th minute but two minutes later, Kudus grabbed his brace to put Ghana ahead. Egypt scored three minutes later to end the game in a 2-2 stalemate.

Play of the Day

The Play of the Day undoubtedly belongs to Emiliano Nsue, who scored a hat-trick against Guinea-Bissau in the opening match of the day. The 35-year-old found the back of the net in the 21st, 51st, and 61st minutes, skippering his side to victory while etching his name in the history books. Nsue's feat was the first since 2008 and only the 18th time in the competition's history.

What next?

Matchday 7 starts with Cape Verde facing Mozambique and then the much-anticipated clash between Senegal and Cameroon. The day concludes with Guinea squaring off against Gambia.

AFCON 2024 MD6 roundup: First hat-trick in 16 years, Nigeria beat hosts
Andrew Randa

Andrew Randa is a seasoned Africa sports journalist, and a former Media Officer for Nigeria's U-20 national team. He is widely acknowledged as an authority on the NPFL and African football, Randa is esteemed for his expertise in football content creation. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being Nigeria's foremost sports kit designer and a trailblazer in the realm of sports graphics in Nigeria.