Gabonese stay grounded after opening win

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Gabon fans kept their celebrations in check and resisted the urge to party hard after the co-hosts won their opening Africa Cup of Nations game on Monday.

Gabon's capital Libreville showed few signs of a night spent in celebration following the 2-0 victory over Niger, as early morning commuters headed to work seemingly oblivious of the achievement the night before.

Few vehicles displayed flags, or other symbols of national pride as has become custom in host nations, even after Gabon's fine performance.

The city had been relatively quiet late Monday night after the home win, save for drivers blowing car horns and street side bars enjoying additional business satisfying the thirst of a handful of spectators who had stopped on their way home from the stadium on the outskirts of the city.

There was no street invasion by enthusiastic residents as has frequently characterised home wins in other major footballing competitions.

Besides a few billboards and advertisements directly relating to the tournament, there is little evidence to suggest Gabon is hosting Africa's showpiece sporting event.

Few fans stayed to watch the second game at Libreville's newly built stadium in which Tunisia beat Morocco 2-1. The estimated 40,000 spectators emptied out quickly after the Gabon victory.

Television images of the Gabon president Ali Bongo pumping his fists in celebration in the VIP box after his team scored, with his elegant wife Sylvia, sporting a Gabon football jersey and looking equally animated, were the most potent symbols of home delight.