Kike’s superb footwork down the right flank created the opening goal in the 16th minute, with the winger skipping past a defender before playing a perfectly weighted through ball that allowed Nsue to fire a low shot past goalkeeper Chris Mafoumbi.
The Red Devils enjoyed plenty of ball possession as the first half wore on, but they lacked the pace and penetration to really trouble Nzalang Nacional’s defence, which was marshalled by the excellent Rui da Garcia.
Javier Balboa was then denied by Mafoumbi before substitute Ladislas Douniama drew a strong save from Ovono at the other end.
Malonga was then presented with a glorious opportunity to complete the turnaround in injury time, but he could only shoot straight at the goalkeeper from six yards out.
Equatorial Guinea next face Burkina Faso, while Congo will take on Gabon. The second round matches will be played in Bata on January 21.