DATE: 17 January 2015
Venue: Estadio De Bata Stadium;
City: Bata, Equatorial Guinea
Time: 21:00 CAT
Match Result: Burkina Faso 0 – 2 Gabon
Goal scorers: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (19′); Malick Evouna (72′)
The GSV Top Class Award
The two Group A fixtures had an interesting occurrence in common, and that was the fact that both Equatorial Guinea and Gabon had their captains score their first goal in the tournament, and while Gabon captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang complemented his goal with an overall decent performance, one that some might rate as GSV Top Class Award material, he is beaten to this award by the man on the other end, his gaolkeeper, Didier Ovono. With goalkeeper recognition having been a big talking point following the Ballon d’Or ceremony, this award is presented with a great deal of pride and a shine of justice. Didier Ovono made numerous saves on the night, saves we believe were the difference between the sides. Vitesse Arnhem’s Bertrand Traore, who was the biggest victim of Ovono’s shot-stopping parade, was also a candidate for The GSV Top Class Award.
The Class Clown Award
There were no stand out class clowns in this fixture, at least not any deserving of this award. But the award must be given, and the team must take one for the team. Expectations of Burkina Faso were high going into the tournament, having reached the final in some style in 2013, and while we saw glimpses of that sexy football in the first half, the feeling is that there were moments of anonymity and ‘nothingness’ from the Burkina Faso side in the second. The defending that led to the opening goal could also have been of a higher standard, considering that the keeper saved the initial shot and Aubameyang was still afforded enough time to maneuvure a shot at goal. The defending for the second gaol can also be faulted, because Malick Evouna had both centre backs in close proximity but neither was able to affect the outcome of the cross. So we hand this award to the Burkina Faso National team, because we feel as a team they had a lot more in their locker.
The Grand Stand View
We mentioned that the Gabonese machine would pose an almost perfect balance of strength and power in the middle of the park, as well as skill and pace up front. This was evident in parts of the game and the pace of Borussia Dortmund speedster Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed how important he will be if Gabon are to make it to the latter stages of the tournament. The mood in the camp suggests that the players are united and are playing for each other, and it was visible in their celebrations. Every player wanted to get involved in the dance routines and share the moment with their teammates, and that kind of togetherness within a young squad could prove to be an asset moving forward.
The Burkina Faso side could do with more performances like that in the first half, and moments in the second. We cannot ignore the fact that they had to create numerous chances in order for Didier Ovono to win the prestigious GSV Top Class Award, and they did so adequately in the first half. On another day, another goalkeeper, one of those chances goes in and changes the complexion of the game. We expect them to work on the mistakes and lapses in concentration that led to the goals conceded, and show the form that saw them finish as runners-up in the last Afcon tounrnament.