There was heartbreak for Gabon Sunday night as the Africa Cup of Nations hosts suffered a humiliating group-stage exit following a goalless draw with Cameroon in Libreville.
The Panthers came out of the blocks firing, but star attacker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was guilty of glaring early misses that eventually proved costly as they played out a third consecutive draw.
Gabon become just the fourth host nation and the first since Tunisia in 1994 to be eliminated from the Cup of Nations in the group stage, while Cameroon go through to the last eight as runners-up in Group A following Burkina Faso’s 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in the night’s other game that saw them top the group.
Denis Bouanga was the most inventive player for Gabon, and saw his rasping drive come off against the post at the death before Didier Ndong’s follow-up was turned over by Cameroon goalie Fabrice Ondoa.
Ondoa’s heroics ensured the Indomitable Lions advance to the last eight and a potentially explosive quarter-final tie against high-flying Senegal in Franceville next Saturday.
In the group’s other tie in Franceville, Rudinilson Silva scored an own-goal on 11 minutes to give the Stallions of Burkina Faso the lead, before on-loan Chelsea Bertrand Traore made sure of the points, and a last eight berth, in the 57th minute.
The AFCON 2013 runners-up, who lost star man Jonathan Pitroipa to injury, will go up against the second-placed team in Group B next weekend.Tunisia, Algeria and Zimbabwe are all in with a chance to take the spot depending on result elsewhere.