Equatorial Guinea’s Vazquez Evuy challenges Gabon’s Madinda during their Group A soccer match of the 2015 African Cup of Nations in Bata. (REUTERS)

Equatorial Guinea sent hometown fans into exultation Sunday, with a 2-0 win over Gabon that sent the Africa Cup of Nations host advancing to the knockout round.

A 55th minute foul by Lloyd Palun against striker Javier Balboa led to a penalty and a goal by Balboa.

Gabon, led by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, struggled to match the goal, but Equatorial Guinea sealed victory in the 86th minute when Ibán slotted home a left footed howler from the center of the box.

Also Sunday, Congo emerged atop Group A standings, advancing to the knockout round with a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso. Fabrice N’Guessi and Thievy Bifouma led the scoring for Congo, who will appear in the quarterfinals for the first time since 1992.