Gabon booked their place in the third round of 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out win over Mozambique at the Stade d'Angondjé in Libreville on Saturday evening .
The Panthers won the game 1-0 on the night, but with Mozambique winning by the same scoreline in the reverse fixture, the game had to be decided from the spot following 210 minutes of football.
Jorge Costa’s men were boosted by the return of their skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who missed the opening leg in Maputo last Wednesday.
Following their 1-0 defeat away in Mozambique, the Panthers made amends as they attacked the visitors from the first whistle.
Their efforts were rewarded in the second minute when Malick Evouna beat the onrushing keeper, Soarito, following a wonderful cross down the left flank from Aubameyang.
It took the Mambas 10 minutes to settle down in the match as they calmed down proceedings and found their way into the Gabonese half.
Evouna nearly bagged his brace but he sent his header over the crossbar as they were willing to double their lead.
However, the visitors put pressure on the hosts and they unleashed a powerful shot but Ovono punched the shot back into action with the follow up attempt flying off target.
On the stroke of half time, Mozambique nearly equalised when they forced a save from the Gabonese keeper, he had to be alert to direct the ball from danger.
Evouna tried to sneak the win in the dying stages of the contest, but the Mambas keeper closed him down. At the other end of the park ,Gildo, broke free - his shot hit the woodwork with Ovono beaten. With both sides unable to find the winning goal within 90 minutes of regulation time, the match headed for extra-time.
Soarito produced two brilliant saves in the opening half of extra time, denying the hosts the lead and in the second 15 minutes the Borussia Dortmund forward went close to killing the game when his shot was saved by the Costa do Sol keeper who was quick to react.
In the end the match had to be decided from 12 yards and after Ovono saved two penalties, Aubameyang scored the decisive goal to send the Panthers into the next round.
Gabon: (1) 1
Mozambique: (0) 0
Gabon win 4-3 on penalties
Gabon: Ovono, Obiang, Appindangoye, H. Ndong, Oto’o, Tandjigora, D. Ndong, Lemina (Kanga 46’[Biyogo 97’]), Madinda (Bulot 66’), Evouna, Aubameyang
Mozambique: Soarito; Z. Júnior, Guambe, Jumisse (Maninho 103’), E.Pelembe, Reginaldo, Clesio, H. Pelembe (Carvalho 77’), Gildo (Miquissone 95’), Lobo, Jeitoso