The Gunners skipper was heading in the right direction because the Panthers silenced the Leopards to seal their place in Cameroon

Gabon have certified for the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations after defeating DR Congo 3-Zero on Thursday night.

Targets from Denis Bouanga, Aaron Boupendza and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had been all of the Panthers wanted to ease previous the Leopards on the Stade de Franceville.

They are going to be making their eighth look on the biennial African soccer showpiece since their maiden look at Tunisia 1994 – the place they completed 12th.

Having misplaced 2-1 to Gambia the final day out, the Gabonese nationwide workforce’s qualification ambition was left hanging within the stability as they dropped to second in Group D – only one level forward of third-placed Congo.

In dire want of a win, coach Patrice Neveu named a star-studded squad that included their Arsenal participant alongside Dijon’s Bruno Ecuele, Saint-Etienne’s Bouanga and Hatayspor’s Boupendza.

That paid off because the Panthers dominated each division of the sport from the very blast of referee Janny Sikazwe’s whistle. Albeit, they had been unable to transform the few early possibilities that got here their means regardless of boasting superior ball possession.

A minute earlier than the half-time break, nevertheless, Turkey-based Boupendza handed Neveu’s workforce the lead after unleashing a magnificence previous goalkeeper Joel Kiassumbua with Guelor Kanga supplying the help.

Coach Christian Nsengi-Biembe’s Leopards got here out stronger within the second-half, nonetheless, they had been unable to interrupt down their strong-willed hosts even with the presence of Royal Charleroi’s Jordan Botaka and Wydad Casablanca’s Kazadi Kasengu main their assault whereas veteran midfielder Tresor Mputu held sway within the midfield.

Their aspirations of launching a comeback suffered an enormous setback as Gabon doubled their benefit by means of Bouanga within the 72nd minute. Capitalising on a defensive mishap by the visiting workforce, the speedy French-based star beat his markers after he was launched by Aubameyang, discovered his composure, and so they fired by means of Kiassumbua’s legs.

4 minutes from full time, captain Aubameyang sealed the win with a close-range strike courtesy of Kanga’s help.

With this consequence, the Panthers have staged a return to the competitors after lacking out on Egypt 2019. Gambia are additionally by means of to the finals after beautiful Angola 1-Zero in Bakau, with Assan Ceesay’s 62nd-minute effort settling the tight encounter whereas DR Congo’s flag won’t be hoisted in Cameroon.

Gabon face Angola of their final group sport on Monday in what can be a dead-rubber affair.

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