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Incredible scenes as AFCON hosts Equatorial Guinea qualify for quarter-finals

The team’s manager Esteban Becker was only appointed 11 days before the tournament began.

Image: Themba Hadebe/AP/Press Association Images

THEY MAY BE the lowest-ranked team in the tournament but host country Equatorial Guinea have made it to the quarter-finals of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.

Heading into their final Group A clash with Gabon, they knew only a victory could advance them to the last eight.

They took the lead on 55 minutes when Javier Balboa converted from the penalty spot – a moment manager Esteban Becker certainly enjoyed.

Then, with only a few minutes remaining, substitute Iban Salvador grabbed a second and the result was wrapped up.

It’s been a remarkable journey for the side. Banished from qualification after fielding an ineligible player, they were reinstated once they took over as hosts from Morocco, who had to pull out because of the Ebola crisis.

Manager Becker only took charge of the team 11 days before the tournament began.

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And, as much as the game provided top-notch entertainment, the post-match necessities also threw up a pretty memorable moment.

Meanwhile, Congo also ensured their place in the quarter-finals. They finished top of Group A after a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso and it’s the first time they’ve qualified for the last-eight for over 20 years.

This is manager Claude LeRoy’s eighth time at the tournament. He’s now reached the quarters on an incredible seven occasions with five different teams.

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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