Africa Cup of Nations: Title favorite Algeria and Senegal triumph

    Story highlights

    • Senegal picks up three points in Group C opener against Ghana
    • Mame Biram Diouf equalizes for Senegal before Moussa Sow scores late winner
    • Title favorites Algeria defeat South Africa 3-1

    (CNN)A late goal from Moussa Sow secured Senegal all three points in dramatic fashion as it saw off Ghana 2-1 in the Africa Cup of Nations Group C opener at Estadio de Mongomo Monday.

    With the scores tied at 1-1 and the match running deep into stoppage time, Senegal seemed as if it would miss out on a deserved victory after running Ghana ragged for much of the 90 minutes.
      However, in what proved to be the last meaningful kick of the game, up stepped substitute Sow to round off an excellent Lions move and slot past Brimah Razak to settle the tie.
      Group C -- billed before the tournament as the "Group of Death" -- was wrapped up Monday with Algeria's 3-1 victory over South Africa.
      After its World Cup exploits last summer, Algeria is favorite to lift the trophy. The Desert Foxes reached the second round of the global tournament in Brazil and took eventual winners Germany to extra time before bowing out.
      The squad is also the top-ranked side competing in Equatorial Guinea as they sit 18th in FIFA's global ratings.
      Algeria won its opening Group C tie with South Africa 3-1 but the score could have been very different if it hadn't been for own goals and missed penalties from the "Bafana Bafana."
      Goals from Faouzi Ghoulam and Islam Slimani won the match for Algeria along with Thulani Hlatshwayo's own goal.
      Ghana had come into its earlier match as favorite as it attempts to claim a first African title in 33 years, having reached the final four on the last four occasions, including a second-placed finish in 2010.
      Former Chelsea and West Ham boss Avram Grant is the man charged with the task of ending the Black Stars' drought, yet his first competitive clash as Ghana coach has left him with much work lying ahead.
      Ghana had to do without captain Asamoah Gyan as he continues to recover from a bout of malaria, but was able to call on brothers Andre and Jordan Ayew -- and it was the younger sibling who opened the scoring in Equatorial Guinea.
      The forward converted a well-taken penalty to net his fifth goal in his last six appearances for his country after Christian Atsu had been brought down in the area by Senegal goalkeeper Bouna Coundal.
      Without injured Southampton forward Sadio Mane, Senegal saw much of the ball throughout the first half but struggled to convert that possession into clear-cut chances, although Kara Mbodji's header rattled the crossbar and Mame Biram Diouf saw a superb bicycle kick saved.
      Alain Giresse's team, however, was rewarded for its pressure soon after the break with Diouf -- who plays for English Premier League club Stoke -- converting the rebound, after his original header had come back off the post, to level proceedings.
      Four-time champion Ghana look rattled and Senegal seemed to determined to pounce, only for chance after chance to be tossed away -- Diouf and Pape Diop were guilty of wasting golden opportunities, while the Lions mustered 13 more attempts on goal than their opponent.
      With the referee moments away from blowing the final whistle, the Black Stars looked set to escape with a fortunate point, before Sow stepped up to send Senegal and its supporters wild.