Guinea coach Kaba Diawara has saluted his players for silencing the critics following their 1-0 victory against 10-man Equatorial Guinea to advance to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast on Sunday.
Mohamed Bayo broke the hearts of Equatorial Guinea with just seconds left on the clock to snath a late win at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Ebimpe.
The Guinea derby had all the ingredients of a knockout encounter, with both sides having a go at each other from the onset.
Equatorial Guinea came into the clash with good momentum following their impressive first place finish in a tough Group A consisting of Ivory Coast and Nigeria while Guinea snuck into the round of 16 as one of the four best third finishers of the group stages.
A golden opportunity was presented to Equatorial Guinea just after the hour mark when Ivan Salvador was fouled in the box for the in-form Emilio Nsue to step up but saw his penalty denied by the woodwork to the relief of Guinea.
“This victory means a lot. We knew the historic nature of the match. We knew that since 1976, Guinea had not won a knockout match. It’s a feeling of pride,” said Diawara, adding: “There was a lot of criticism, but I knew this group had quality and we proved it today. Everyone prepared well. It’s a group that we built piece by piece and it’s a reward for them and for us also the coaches.
“We now look ahead. We want to go as far as possible. We will wait for the next opponent and we will prepare better.”