Burkina Faso, Equatorial Guinea draw

Bata, Equatorial Guinea – Host Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso both wasted plenty of chances in a 0-0 draw at the start of the second round of group games at the African Cup of Nations on Wednesday.

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Burkina Faso’s Bakary Kone, right, is challenged by Equatorial Guinea’s Emilio Nsue, left, during their African Cup of Nations Group A soccer match in Bata, Equatorial Guinea. AP Photo/Themba Hadebe

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Burkina Faso’s Alain Traore twice hit the post in the first half. Equatorial Guinea’s Javier Balboa twice created goal-scoring opportun

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favourites Algeria got off to a winning start in Group C with a come-from-behind 3-1 triumph over South Africa in Mongomo.

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It was an impressive fightback by the Desert Foxes, who went top of the table on goal difference in the group of death after Senegal defeated Ghana 2-1 earlier.

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Goals from Faouzi Ghoulam and Islam Slimani won a lively match for the top-ranked African team after a Thulani Hlatshwayo own-goal wiped out the lead Thuso Phala gave South Africa.

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Tokelo Rantie wasted a great chance to double the advantage for Bafana Bafana (The Boys) almost immediately by firing a penalty over off the crossbar.

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Algeria started with 11 of the squad that reached the second round of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and forced eventual champions Germany into extra time before bowing out.

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South Africa had to do without suspended defensive colossus Erick Mathoho with Rivaldo Coetzee and Hlatshwayo manning the central positions.

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The Desert Foxes were more impressive in the early exchanges, retaining possession and pushing forward without seriously troubling goalkeper Darren Keet.

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But when full-back Ghoulam was presented with a long-range free-kick opportunity, he fired the ball straight at the South African shot-stopper.

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Striker Rantie from English second-tier league leaders Bournemouth was proving menacing at the other end and twice threatened the Algerians with his pace.

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Captain Dean Furman came agonisingly close to ending the stalemate midway through the opening half by unleashing an explosive shot from outside the box.

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Goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi got the slightest of touches to the rising, swerving shot and it proved crucial as the ball cannoned back into play off the crossbar.

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Mbolhi twice rescued the Foxes as half-time approached, dispossessing Sibusiso Vilakazi and then blocking an Andile Jali shot with his leg.

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A Rantie back-heel set up Phala to break the deadlock on 51 minutes with a close-range shot wide of Mbolhi.

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Then a Rantie spot-kick flew over off the crossbar after Aissa Mandi fouled Vilakazi.

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Back came Algeria and Slimani was denied by Keet and then by the post.

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However, the North Africans scored twice within six minutes midway through the second half to turn the tide.

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Hlatshwayo headed a cross into his own net and a fierce Ghoulam shot flew past Keet.

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An Algerian victory was wrapped up seven minutes from time as Keet allowed a Slimani shot to slip under his body and into the net. – AFP

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ities for teammates in the second half, only for their shots to fly wide.

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The result leaves Group A wide open, with just two points separating the top team from the bottom team ahead of Wednesday’s second game, when Gabon plays Republic of Congo.

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Burkina Faso, the 2013 finalist, dominated the first half. The hosts were better in the second as their fans urged them on at Bata Stadium.

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Meanwhile,

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