Afcon 2021

Goals have been a scarce commodity in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon, the 33rd edition of the continent’s biggest football tournament.

A total of 12 goals have been scored in the opening round – match day one – 12 games. This is more than twice less than the same number of goals scored during the same stage of the previous tournament.

Three of the goals came in a 2-1 win for the host Cameroon, whose goals came from the penalty spots against Burkina Faso.

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Those were two of the four goals that have come from penalties.

There have been two goalless draws. Those stalemates came from Guinea Bissau and Sudan in Group D as well as champions, Algeria, and Sierra Leone in Group E. The rest have ended in 1-0 victories.

There were 27 goals were scored in the opening matches in the AFCON 2019 in Egypt. That averaged 2.25 goals per match, a stark contrast to an average 1 goal per match in the opening group matches in Cameroon.

This is the second time the tournament is played on a 24-team format, up from 16.

A total of 102 goals were scored in the previous tournament will be reached and it looks unlikely to be reached in the current edition.

However, there was drama in the game of Tunisia against Mali when the Zambian referee Janny Sikazwe blew the final whistle prematurely at the 85 minute mark and at the 89 minute.

The Tunisians were chasing an equaliser after falling behind to a 48th minute penalty by Ibrahima Kone. Players of both teams went off into the dressing room, only for them to be ordered to return 25 minutes later before Tunisia refused.

It was reported that they refused to play the final few minutes in protest and will instead lodge a complaint.