Late penalty seals Burkina Faso win over Mauritania.
By Joe Rindl.
Bertrand Traore scored a 96th-minute penalty to see Burkina Faso narrowly beat Mauritania 1-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations opener in Group D.
Substitute Traore sent Mauritania keeper Babacar Niasse the wrong way from the spot after Nouh Mohamed El Abd fouled Issa Kabore in the penalty area.
Mauritania had been minutes away from just a third ever point at Afcon.
Burkina Faso have reached the semi-finals at three of the past five Afcons but were far from their best in Bouake.
Villa's Traore rescues Stallions
Burkina Faso had looked set to follow favourites Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria in failing to win their opening match.
They created several opportunities at a humid Stade de la Paix with Adama Guira whistling a shot narrowly over the bar in the opening minutes.
Mauritania keeper Niasse was also forced into two fine late saves, denying Stephane Aziz Ki's effort from a tight angle and tipping a powerful Traore shot over the bar.
Moroccan referee Jalal Jayed had initially waved play on when Luton's Kabore went down in the penalty area but reversed his decision after the video assistant referee (VAR) had advised him to consult the pitchside monitor.
And the deadlock was finally broken through Aston Villa's Traore, who was clinical from the spot.
The result was harsh on Mauritania, who still await their first Afcon win.
They had started the brighter side with Stallions goalkeeper Herve Koffi brilliantly tipping Aboubakary Koita's first-half free-kick over the bar.
And in the second half Koffi denied Sidi Amar with a fine diving save as Mauritania were unable to net what would have been just their second goal at Afcon.