National teams 15 January 2024, 18:24

Taki’ hits a double at the Asian Cup, Singo wins at AFCON

Taki’ hits a double at the Asian Cup, Singo wins at AFCON
Both starters of their first official match in competition this weekend, Takumi Minamino scored a double scorer and provided an assist for Japan while Wilfried Singo started in a victory for the Ivory Coast. Also a starter, Mohammed Salisu's Ghana lost in AFCON.

Just like that, the kick-offs of the Africa Cup of Nations and the Asian Cup have happened! Six AS Monaco players have left to join their respective countries, to carry high their colors. This weekend, three of them were even in action to kick off the two competitions. The first of these was Wilfried Singo with Les Éléphants who played Saturday night against Guinea-Bissau.

45 minutes and a victory for Singo

And for the opening match of AFCON 2023, the hosts did not miss the mark. With the Monegasque defender, starting on the right flank, the heirs of the legend Didier Drogba quickly opened the scoring through the former Lens player, Seko Fofana (4′). After coming off at half-time, number 99 of the Rouge et Blanc then saw Jean-Philippe Krasso score a second goal just before the hour mark (58′), enough to calmly ensure a win peaceful success for Ivory Coast.

Photo: Icon Sport

Ghana and Salisu are stunned

At the same time they would take the lead of their group, benefiting from a draw  by Nigeria (1-1). On Sunday, it was then the turn of Mohammed Salisu to make his debut in the competition with Ghana. But it did not go as planned, since the Black Stars were stunned at the very end of the match by Cape Verde, 2-1, despite a goal by Alexander Djiku.

Crédits photo : Icon Sport

Taki’ starts… and is decisive!

Starting in attacking midfield, our Monegasque played the entire match with Japan in their first match in the Asian Cup. Started against Vietnam along with the Rémois duo of Nakamura and Ito, Takumi Minamino didn’t take long to impress. It is indeed the Japanese number 8 who opened the scoring in the 11th minute, following a shot poorly cleared by the opposing defense (1-0).

Photo: Icon Sport
Tournament matches are always difficult, but the most important thing is to have been able to take these three points. My two goals? To be honest, it's my teammates who won the ball, and I just had to score. I am very happy and grateful to them. I wanted to contribute to the team. My goals were key in this important success today, so I am very happy about it.
Takumi MinaminoAfter his double with Japan

A star turn from Minamino decides the match

Very enterprising, Vietnam would still manage to undermine Japan’s defense and even take the lead in the 33rd minute (1-2). But the favorites of the competition would quickly come to grips with the match, and Taki’, perfectly found in space by Liverpool midfielder Endo, would level the match (2-2, 45′). Then it would be the turn of Keito Nakamura, also well found by the Monegasque number 18, to send a shot into the top corner just before the break (3-2, 45 + 4′).

In the second period, Japan would manage its lead, until a goal in the final minutes from… Ayase Ueda, the former Cercle striker (4-2, 85th)!  The Samuraï Blue thus won their first match of the Asian Cup, led by an impressive Minamino. Daghe Taki’! 🇲🇨

Photos: Icon Sport

📅 What’s ahead at AFCON and the Asian Cup:

🇸🇳 Ismail Jakobs and Krépin Diatta
Monday January 15: Senegal – Gambia (3 p.m., BeIn Sport 2) at Charles Konan Banny Stadium (Yamoussoukro)

🇲🇱 Mohamed Camara
Tuesday January 16: Mali – South Africa (9 p.m., BeIn Sport 2) at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium (Korhogo)

🇬🇭 Mohammed Salisu
Thursday January 18: Egypt – Ghana (9 p.m., BeIn Sport 2) at Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny (Abidjan)

🇨🇮 Wilfried Singo
Thursday January 18: Ivory Coast – Nigeria (6 p.m., BeIn Sport 2) at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium (Abidjan)

🇯🇵 Takumi Minamino
Friday January 19: Iraq – Japan (12:30 p.m.) at Education City Stadium (Al Rayyan)