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Salah's Egypt and Osimhen's Nigeria have frustrating starts at Africa Cup. 'Blue Sharks' beat Ghana

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast (AP) — Mohamed Salah scored a very late penalty to spare Egypt’s embarrassment by drawing 2-2 against Mozambique in their Africa Cup of Nations opener on Sunday.

Salah stayed cool to score from the spot in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time after Domingos was adjudged to have fouled Mostafa Mohamed in a VAR review.

That denied Mozambique its first-ever tournament win at the 13th attempt. But the team was still cheered by the majority of fans at the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Stadium.

Salah had also set up Mohamed to fire in the opener in the second minute of the Group B game.

The stadium, which had been filling up with Ghana and Cape Verde fans for the later match at the same venue, erupted when Mozambique winger Witi equalized with a header to Domingos’ cross in the 55th, and again three minutes later when Clésio Baúque fired the underdogs in front.

There were boos when the seven minutes of injury time was announced and cries of “Mozambique, Mozambique” rang around the stadium.

But Salah showed no nerves as he salvaged a point for "The Pharaohs” as they began their bid for a record-extending eighth title.

NIGERIA DRAWS

Victor Osimhen scored but missed several more chances and couldn’t lift Nigeria to a winning start in Group A as the “Super Eagles” were held 1-1 by Equatorial Guinea in their opening game.

Goalkeeper Jesús Owono produced a string of saves to frustrate three-time champion Nigeria in the second half after Osimhen had equalized in the first.

Nigeria dominated from the start only to be caught out in the 36th minute when José Machín set up Iban Salvador to fire Equatorial Guinea ahead.

Osimhen replied around a minute later when Ademola Lookman’s deflected cross dropped kindly for him to head in at the far post.

The result leaves coach José Peseiro’s team under pressure going into Thursday’s game against host nation Ivory Coast, which started the tournament Saturday with a 2-0 win over Guinea-Bissau.

Nigeria is going for its fourth title after its last win in 2013. Nigeria lost the final the last time the competition was staged in Ivory Coast in 1984.

GHANA LOSES OPENER

Cape Verde substitute Garry Rodrigues scored in stoppage time for a 2-1 win over four-time champion Ghana in Group B.

It maintained the small Atlantic island nation’s record of never losing its opening Africa Cup game in four tournament appearances.

The “Blue Sharks” got off to a great start with Jamiro Monteiro scoring in the 17th minute on a rebound from Jovane Cabral’s initial shot saved by Richard Ofori in the Ghana goal.

Marshaled at the back by Roberto “Pico” Lopes and Logan Costa, Cape Verde’s defense largely dealt with Ghana’s speedy forward line of Jordan Ayew, Antoine Semenyo and Joseph Paintsil.

Ghana was without injured star Mohammed Kudus.

Majeed Ashimeru thought he’d equalized in the 36th with a long-range strike inside the left post after Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer’s header had ricocheted off the post for Ghana. But the goal was ruled out through VAR. The retreating Königsdörffer was in an offside position and blocking the goalkeeper’s view.

The “Black Stars” finally equalized when Alexander Djiku headed in Ayew’s corner in the 56th.

Paintsil went close shortly afterward as coach Chris Hughton’s halftime talk evidently had the desired effect on his players. He sent on Iñaki Williams, Ernest Nuamah and veteran André Ayew, who equaled a record by playing in eight Africa Cups.

Cape Verde's substitute had the final say, however.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer