Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set Gabon on their way to a 2-0 win against Burkina Faso in Bata on Saturday as they went top of Group A of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
Host nation Equatorial Guinea were forced to a 1-1 draw by Congo in the opening match of the tournament earlier in the day, so Gabon now lead the standings after the first round of games with three points.
Gabon took the lead in the 18th minute through skipper Aubameyang just moments after Burkina Faso threw away a big chance at the other end of the pitch.
Borussia Dortmund striker Aubameyang, whose brace sunk Burkina Faso in a qualifying match for this tournament in October in Libreville, buried the rebound of his earlier effort after he was put through on goal.
Malick Evouna from WAC Casablanca of Morocco then doubled Gabon’s lead in the 71st minute when he headed home off a fine cross from the right by Frederic Bulot after an attack initiated by Aubameyang.
Gabon were solid and organised at the back, full of running and they took their chances very well.
Burkina Faso, beaten finalists at the 2013 Nations Cup in South Africa, were not clinical in front of goal even though they started the brighter of the two teams and created several openings, with Chelsea youngster Bertrand Traore very much in the thick of things up front for the Stallions.
After Aubameyang’s opener, Jonathan Pitroipa, the star player at the 2013 Nations Cup, twice missed good chances to level the scores going into the interval.
Brothers Bertrand and Alain Traore also squandered openings, much to the relief of the large travelling contingent from Gabon.
Just before the hour mark, Bertrand, the younger of the brothers, showed great skill to go past his marker at the edge of the Gabon box, but his rasping shot was kept out by the diving Ovono.
And the same player threw away another great opening soon after when he drifted past his marker, but somehow Ovono got a foot to his goal-bound shot.
Evouna made it 2-0, and Gabon could have won by a wider margin, but Aubameyang’s clever chip in stoppage time forced goalkeeper Germain Sanou to pull off a fine acrobatic save.