Angola 4-4 Lineups/Stats
African Cup of Nations Fixtures, Results
With the attack on the Togolese national team looming over
the proceedings, 50,000 spectators filled the Estadio 11 Novembro in Luanda to
watch the Palancas Negras take on the Eagles of Mali in the opener of the
African Cup of Nations. A minute of silence was observed to commemorate those
who lost their lives in the terrorist attack.
The Malians began the match without the injured Seydou Keita
while the Angolans benefitted from having Flavio Amado fit enough to take part.
The visitors kicked off the encounter but quickly gave the
ball back to their hosts and it was the Angolans who had the first half chance
of the match but the Malian keeper, Mahamadou Sidibe, intervened in time to put
out the danger.
The game was slow to settle as both teams had trouble finding
each with inaccurate passes.
The first shot of the match was taken by Flavio in
the 5th minute after a quickly taken throw in but it was straight at
the opposing keeper who had no trouble scooping it up.
Though ineffective, the
strike seemed to lift both the crowd and the rest of the team as they created
another opportunity but Mabina’s cross was not taken advantage of.
Flavio was once again at the center of things shortly
thereafter yet couldn’t create enough space for himself to get a good look on
The Malians on the other hand were still finding difficulties adapting to
the pressing strategy implemented by Angola’s tactician, Manel Jose.
The first corner of the game came in the 10th
minute when Rui Marques played the ball out of play despite having plenty of
space to chest it down or let a team-mate intercept it. Luckily for him nothing
came of the ensuing Malian attempt.
After that, the West Africans had an excellent look at goal
but the linesman wrongly whistled an inexistent offside.
Angola’s Dede went down for a lunging tackle in the 19th
minute and came up limping and Bakaye followed him out of play to receive
treatment for an elbow to the face.
The home side got their first corner in the 21st
after a cross from Mabina was deflected. Al Ahly’s Gilberto took it but Kali
was not able to finish off the play.
With Most Angolans in the Malian side of
the pitch, a quickly launched counter could’ve resulted in a goal for the
Eagles but the chance was squandered after a poor pass from Le Mans’ Modibo
Dede eventually had to come off when he aggravated his
hamstring pull. He was replaced by Djalima Campos.
Even deep into the first half there was no continuity to the
play of either side as most of the play was constricted to the midfield.
fans began to grow somewhat frustrated until the 31st minute when a
good chance was created the lively right back, Mabina, and substitute Djalma
got an angled header on target but Sidibe was well placed at the near post to
Eagles player Maiga then made way for the influential Seydou
Keita as Stephen Keshi looked to create a better dynamic between his disjointed
players on the pitch.
The Barcelona midfielder’s first touch was off a free
kick but he hit it straight out of play.
Manucho was found on a deep pass on the ensuing play and was
taken down on the edge of the box by Ousmane Berthe. As usual, Gilberto took
charge of the free kick. His cross to a wide open Flavio ended up being the key
as he headed impeccably from point blank range to launch the Palancas Negras
supporters into wild celebrations.
Gilberto could have doubled the advantage on
another set piece but his shot floated over the crossbar.
Five minutes before halftime the Angolans got their second
goal when Mabinga brilliantly found the diminutive but extremely well placed Flavio
who gave Sidibe no chance at all and allowed his side to take a 2-0 advantage
into the locker rooms as Keshi was left to contemplate how to turn things
around in the second period.
The Malians began the second half looking more motivated
with Keita doing his best to lift his team-mates. His efforts brought about two
successive corner kicks and Mahamadou Diarra should have scored from close distance
but his hesitation gave Carlos Fernandes enough time to close in on home and
block his shot.
Kanoute then took his turn in the 50th minute
from outside the area and completely missed the target. Sensing the danger
which was brewing the home team created a few of their own attacks with Mabina
continuing to terrorize the Malians on the right flank.
Bakaye Traore was taken off for defender Lassana Fane in the
57th minute as Keshi looked for solutions but only Keita looked
capable of imposing himself on the ball in the densely packed midfield of the Angolans
who kept hassling their opponents.
The 65th minute brought what looked to be the
killer blow as Mbagayoko was far too hesitant in his own area and Gilberto dispossessed
him and was fouled right after. The Egyptian referee did not hesitate to
whistle a penalty kick which had to be struck, and scored, twice by Gilberto himself
after his first attempt was called off due to Manucho running into the penalty
area too early.
A poor clearance from the Malians in the 73rd
eventually led to Gilberto being taken down by Keita and another penalty kick
was awarded to Angola. This time it was Manucho who sent the keeper the wrong
way heaped more misery on a discombobulated Mali team that hardly knew what hit
Angolan goalkeeper Carlos spilled the ball in the four
minutes after that and Keita pounced to pull one back for his team. Sevilla’s
Freddy Kanoute then got into the act himself to reduce the deficit further.
crowd was shocked in the 92nd as a third Mali goal was scored deep
into stoppage time by Keita and then, unbelievably, they got their equalizer mere seconds later off a Yatabare finish.
Just when it appeared Mali would lose their first opening
match of an African Cup finals in their history, they bounced back to spoil the
Angolan party and leave almost everyone in the stadium deflated and struggling
to comprehend how a four goal cushion was squandered.
Rami Ayari, Goal.com