AFCON 2023: Senegal starts AFCON defense with 3-0 win over Gambia while Cameroon frustrated by Guinea

Senegal’s Lamine Camara, center, gestures as he scores his side’s second goal past Gambia’s goalkeeper Baboucarr Gaye, bottom left, during the African Cup of Nations Group C soccer match between Senegal and Gambia at the Charles Konan Banny stadium in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. Photograph: Sunday Alamba/AP
  • Lamine Camara scores twice as Senegal stroll past the Gambia
  • Indomitable Lions held by 10 men in their Group C opener

Lamine Camara scored twice as defending champion Senegal started the Africa Cup of Nations with a comfortable 3-0 win over Gambia on Monday.

Camara’s second strike was arguably the goal of the tournament so far, a shot inside the right top corner from around 20 meters (yards) in the 86th after being set up by Iliman Ndiaye.

Sadio Mané, who is hoping to lead the country to a second straight title, got his team off to a good start in the fourth minute when he set up Pape Gueye for the opener.

Gambia had already endured an ordeal to reach the competition when the team’s airplane experienced a sudden loss of oxygen, and its task was made even harder in first-half injury time when Ebou Adams was sent off for catching Camara at the back of his heel. It was the first red card of the tournament.

Camara scored his first goal early in the second half with a low strike inside the far post after making a run into the area.

Five-time champion Cameroon was playing Guinea in the other Group C game in the same stadium later Monday, before Algeria was to start its bid for a third title in the city of Bouaké against Angola with their opening game in Group D.

Mohamed Bayo gives Guinea the lead Photograph: Issouf Sanogo/AFP/Getty Images

Cameroon were held to a 1-1 draw by resolute 10-man Guinea in their Africa Cup of Nations opener in Yamoussoukro.

Mohamed Bayo had given Guinea a shock early lead before captain Francois Kamano was sent off in first-half stoppage time following a VAR review for standing on Frank Magri’s foot.

Magri’s header levelled things up six minutes into the second half, but Cameroon could not find a winner past the well-organised Guinea defence.

Cameroon – missing injured captain Vincent Aboubakar – started with Fabrice Ondoa in goal after bad weather caused travel problems for his cousin André Onana, who had flown in from Manchester on a private jet only to be further delayed and not named in the match squad.

Guinea, without Stuttgart striker Serhou Guirassy, took a shock lead in the 10th minute. Cameroon midfielder Olivier Kemen lost possession on the edge of the penalty area and Le Havre forward Bayo stabbed the loose ball past Ondoa.

The Indomitable Lions, five-time African champions, looked for a swift response as captain Frank Anguissa headed wide at the far post. Guinea defender Sekou Sylla tried a long-range effort to catch Ondoa off his line, but the back-pedalling Nimes keeper was relieved to see the ball drop on to the roof of the net.

Guinea, though, were down to 10 men in stoppage time at the end of the first half when Kamano was sent off following a VAR review after standing on Magri’s foot.

Cameroon equalised six minutes into the second half when Magri got up at the back post to head in Georges-Kévin Nkoudou’s deep cross from the left. Just after the hour, Guinea midfielder Aguibou Camara burst clear on the right, only to be brought down by Cameroon defender Harold Moukoudi, who was shown a yellow card.

Cameroon pressed for a late winner, with Nkoudou glancing a header wide before Guinea keeper Ibrahim Koné saved from Karl Toko at point-blank range as the 10 men held out.