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Marco Ilaimaharitra makes history for Madagascar

Madagascar won their first ever Africa Cup of Nations match by beating Group B rivals Burundi 1-0 in Alexandria.

Marco Ilaimaharitra’s second-half free-kick was enough to seal victory for Madagascar, one day after the nation celebrated Independence Day.

The Barea, making their first appearance in the tournament finals, drew their opening match 2-2 against Guinea on Saturday, while Burundi remain pointless after losing their first game 1-0 to Nigeria.

Both side’s defences were largely untroubled until Burundi carved out several chances just after the hour mark.

Fiston Abdul Razak and Enock Sabumukama wasted clear-cut chances and a shot from Gael Bigirimana, recently released by Hibernian, was saved in the top corner by Madagascar goalkeeper Melvin Adrien.

Burundi were made to pay in the 76th minute when defender Omar Ngandu fouled Paulin Voavy and Ilaimaharitra nestled the resulting free-kick in the top corner.

Adrien pulled off a fine save in the closing stages to keep out Mohamed Amissi’s angled shot, while Burundi pair Omar Ngandu and Christophe Nduwarugira both headed narrowly wide in the final minute.