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Monday, Jan. 23, 2012

Hosts open Cup of Nations with win


Bata Equatorial, Guinea — Co-host Equatorial Guinea snatched a late winner to beat Libya 1-0 in the African Cup of Nations on Saturday, sparking jubilant scenes as fans danced and sang to celebrate the stunning debut result.

Later, Zambia sealed a doubleheader of unexpected results at Bata Stadium in a 2-1 win against highly fancied Senegal.

Javier-Angel Balboa slotted Equatorial Guinea's decisive strike into a top corner of Libya's goal in the 87th minute to send the home crowd into raptures.

Equatorial Guinea, the lowest ranked team at the tournament, overcame a turbulent preparation during which coach Henri Michel resigned just weeks before the tournament, leaving replacement Gilson Paulo with little time to drill his squad.

"We played a good game. We had trained so little time, but the tactical dedication of our players was great," Paulo said.

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