African Cup of Nations 2015: Javier Balboa puts host nation on route to knockout stages

Tonight sees the climax of Group B, with 2012 winners Zambia, currently bottom, requiring victory against Cape Verde to make the quarter-finals

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The Independent Online

Hosts Equatorial Guinea reached the last eight of the African Cup of Nations for the second time in three years last night, goals by Javier Balboa and Iban Salvador earning a 2-0 win over Gabon.

They took the lead against the run of play from the penalty spot early in the second half, Balboa scoring after earning the penalty. Salvador then confirmed their progress to the knockout stages, pouncing on the rebound after Emilio Nsue’s shot was parried.

Congo qualified as winners  of Group A after beating Burkina Faso 2-1 in Ebebiyin, Thievy Bifouma and Fabrice Ondama getting the goals.

Tonight sees the climax of Group B, with 2012 winners Zambia, currently bottom, requiring victory against Cape Verde to make the quarter-finals, along with DR Congo failing to beat Tunisia.

“It’s not how much you fall, but how strong do you get up and move forward,” Zambia coach Honour Janza said. “And that’s what Zambia is going to do, it’s how we go forward from the last match.”

Cape Verde midfielder Toni Varela is also confident of his side’s chances as victory could clinch the group. “We know about their quality and they know about us,” the Excelsior  midfielder remarked.  “During the two games that we have played against them [in qualifying], we played against a good technical team, a lot of individual quality, so we are prepared.”

The four sides in Group D – including Cameroon and the Ivory Coast – face being separated by lots to determine who makes the final eight. All four matches in the group have finished 1-1, giving all sides identical records ahead of Wednesday’s final encounters. Cameroon take on Ivory Coast, while Guinea face Mali.

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