Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was unable to inspire Gabon to a first win of the Africa Nations Cup as the hosts drew 1-1 with Burkina Faso in Group A.
The Borussia Dortmund striker converted a first-half penalty, cancelling out Prejuce Nakoulma’s opener at Stade de l’Amitie, as Gabon had to settle for a second successive draw.
Their further participation in the tournament now depends on Sunday’s final group game against Cameroon, when even victory may not be enough. Burkina Faso have now drawn nine of their last 22 Africa Nations Cup group games. They next face Guinea-Bissau.
Aubameyang struck a third-minute free kick narrowly over from the edge of the area before Denis Bouanga led a counter-attack. Bouanga’s shot struck the crossbar and Aubameyang weakly headed the rebound towards goal where Kouakou Koffi made a comfortable save.
Burkina Faso were forced into an early change when Nakoulma replaced Jonathan Pitroipa, who was taken off on a stretcher with fears over his future in the tournament due to an ankle injury. Nakoulma scored soon after his introduction. Burkina Faso cleared a Gabon corner and he raced on to the ball, slipped by two defenders and netted.
Koffi saved from Bouanga before Gabon were forced into a change, with Johann Obiang going off and Benjamin Ze Ondo coming on. Obiang appeared to suffer a knee injury.
The hosts equalised after Koffi wiped out Aubameyang inside the box as the striker chased a long ball. Aubameyang sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot.
Didier Ovono, the Gabon goalkeeper, was called into action to deny Burkina Faso substitute Bertrand Traore. And the hosts were denied a winner nine minutes from time when Koffi saved from Bouanga after Aubameyang’s cross.