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BATA, Equatorial Guinea (AP) — Host Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso both wasted plenty of chances in a 0-0 draw at the start of the second round of group games at the African Cup of Nations on Wednesday.
Burkina Faso's Alain Traore twice hit the post in the first half. Equatorial Guinea's Javier Balboa twice created goal-scoring opportunities for teammates in the second half, only for their shots to fly wide.
The result leaves Group A wide open, with just two points separating the top team from the bottom team ahead of Wednesday's second group game, when Gabon plays Republic of Congo.
Burkina Faso, the 2013 finalist, dominated the first half. The hosts were better in the second as their fans urged them on at Bata Stadium.
Overall, Burkina Faso had more clear openings in an end-to-end game played at high pace, with the home crowd roaring on Equatorial Guinea's attacks and letting out huge groans when Burkina Faso threatened their goal.
Traore first hit the post with a curling free kick around the wall in the 20th minute. He also found space at the back post five minutes before halftime, and hammered a left-foot volley that goalkeeper Felipe Ovono deflected onto the same upright.
Between those two near-misses, big striker Aristide Bance — recalled to the starting lineup — powered a rising shot from a set move at a free kick that Ovono punched away with both hands.
"We had chances, but the same problem, finishing," said Burkina Faso coach Paul Put, whose team also created but missed a string of opportunities in a 2-0 loss to Gabon. "Unfortunately, we cannot score and that's the problem."
Emilio Nsue's blocked drive just before halftime was the best opening for the home team in the first 45.
But Equatorial Guinea improved in the second half.
In the 58th, Balboa went on a weaving run and slid a pass through for Ellong Doualla, who shot wide when clear on goal on the right side of the area. Balboa began another rapid counterattack soon after, and played in Kike Boula on the left this time. His shot also went way right of the goal and he covered his face with his hands in frustration.
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