Coundoul, Senegal suffer shock defeat in ACN opener

Senegal and former New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Zambia on Saturday in their first match of the 2012 African Cup of Nations.

Coundoul, whose contract option was declined by the Red Bulls at the end of 2011 and wasn’t selected in the Expansion Draft, played 90 minutes in goal as a pair of defensive errors gave Zambia the only openings they needed to dig the Group A favorites into a hole after just one game.

After conceding twice during an eight-minute period early in the first half, Senegal threatened during the second 45 minutes – and eventually got a goal back through substitute Dame N’Doye 16 minutes from time – but couldn’t salvage a result.

Widely labeled the top side in Group A, which also includes Libya and Equatorial Guinea, Senegal boast a forward line that includes Newcastle United’s Demba Ba, Lille’s Moussa Sow and captain Mamadou Niang. They play next against on Wednesday against Equatorial Guinea, who began the tournament with a 1-0 victory against Libya.

Coundoul, 29, has made 97 career starts in MLS. He started 11 games for New York in 2011, allowing 13 goals and compiling a 3-2-6 record, after becoming manager Hans Backe’s first-choice goalkeeper in 2010 (27 starts).