Host nation Gabon must win their final game in Group A to progress in the Africa Cup of Nations after playing out to a 1-1 draw with Burkina Faso on Wednesday.
- Gabon 1 Burkina Faso 1
- Bouanga denied by the woodwork
- Nakoulma gives Stallions the lead
- Aubameyang penalty restores parity
- Two draws for Panthers in Group A
The Panthers had to come from behind to secure a share of the spoils after Prejuce Nakoulma fired the Stallions in front on 23 minutes.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came to their rescue, though, as the skipper won and converted a penalty 15 minutes later to make it back-to-back draws for Jose Antonio Camacho's side in the tournament.
Full Time | Gabon 1-1 Burkina Faso (24' Nakoulma | 38' Aubameyang) #AFCON2017
— AFCON 2017 (@AFCON_2017) January 18, 2017
The Panthers were looking for an improved showing after being held to a 1-1 draw by Guinea-Bissau in their Group A opener on Saturday, and they had an early chance from a free-kick, which Aubameyang sent over the crossbar in the third minute.
They went within a whisker of breaking the deadlock four minutes later from a counter as Denis Bouanga saw his shot from inside the box come back off the crossbar and Stallions keeper Kouakou Koffi managed to claim Aubameyang's tame header on the rebound.
Paulo Duarte's side created their first clear-cut chance on 13 minutes when Alain Traore cut inside from the right and forced Didier Ovono to keep out his curling effort from distance.
Gabon were then caught napping midway through the first half as a long ball forward saw Nakoulma steal in behind the defence to tuck past Ovono for the opening goal.
In response, Bouanga beat his marker on the left and cut inside before lining up a shot from 30 yards out that was gathered by Koffi at the second attempt six minutes later.
But the hosts drew level eight minutes before the break as Koffi needlessly brought down Aubameyang for a penalty after he latched onto a long ball down the left channel. The Borussia Dortmund striker made no mistake from 12 yards out, sending the keeper the wrong way.
Bruno Ecuele Manga had an opportunity to put the Panthers in front just before the break, but he was unable to find the target with a powerful downward header from Poko's 42nd-minute corner.
Both glovemen made crucial saves in the second half to keep the score deadlocked, with Ovona palming away Bertrand Traore's strike inside the area on the right in the 59th minute before he produced an even better stop moments later to deny Banou Diawara after being wrong-footed by the deflected free-kick.
Koffi was called into action nine minutes from time as Gabon pressed for the winner in the closing stages, the keeper saving Bouanga's effort with his leg after Aubameyang had headed a cross into the winger's path.
Bouanga then created a chance for Serge Kevyn in the final minute with a good cross, but the substitute was unable to keep his header down as the ball looped over the bar.