Sudan goalkeeper Ali Abou Achrine saved a late penalty to ensure they secured a 0-0 draw with Guinea-Bissau in Garoua on Tuesday in an inauspicious start for both at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
Achrine had little difficulty pushing away a poorly-taken kick by midfielder Pele and then watched as the follow-up from Piqueti cannoned back off the crossbar.
The goalkeeper turned from villain to hero after having brought down Steve Ambri to give away the spot-kick with some eight minutes left of a tepid tussle between two of the tournament’s lesser lights.
Joseph Mendes had a first chance for Guinea-Bissau, peeling away from the Sudan defence to find space and head a free-kick against the upright in the 16th minute, but Sudan keeper Achrine was quick to gather up the rebound.
Sudan’s best effort was on the stroke of half-time when Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Maurice Gomis was forced to parry away a stinging shot from Mohamed Abdelrahman.
Sudan had made a drastic overhaul of their squad just weeks before the tournament after they lost all three group games at last month’s Arab Cup.