Angola edge towards last eight – but at what cost?

Angola registered their first win at the Africa Cup of Nations to edge closer towards the quarter finals but Thursday’s victory over Malawi may have come at a high price.

The 2010 hosts lost two key players — Flavio and Gilberto — during an impressive performance which lifted the Black Antelopes up to the top of Group A.

Al-Ahly winger Gilberto, one of Angola’s best players and the scorer of a goal in the opening 4-4 draw with Mali, had to come off towards the end of the first half.

Then on 60 minutes influential striker Flavio, who put Angola into a 48th minute lead, was stretchered off with what appeared to be a recurrence of a hamstring problem.

Angola had to go into battle against Malawi without midfielder Dede, who had to come off in the first half an hour last Sunday with a thigh problem.

Coach Manuel Jose will be praying this trio recover in time for his team’s remaining first round game against World Cup qualifiers Algeria on Monday.

Jose, noting Gilberto’s importance to his side’s Cup campagin, said: “Gilberto played a great game against Malawi, but I wished he could have stayed on longer.

“If he had played on I think we would have solved this game sooner than we did.

“Flavio also had to come off, and Zuela had a problem at the end — but these are the sacrifices you make if you want to be crowned champions.

“I should not be afraid to trust the players and fortunately we were successful.”

Spurred on by 50 000 partisan fans at the 11 November stadium Angola put the trauma of seeing a four-goal lead evaporate in the last quarter of an hour of their opening game well and truly behind them.

The result put Angola on four points with Malawi and Algeria on three and Mali, beaten 1-0 by the Algerians in Thursday’s first match, propping up the table on one point.

Angola, with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, sporting the team’s scarf, watching, burst out of the blocks.

They almost took a lightning lead when Manucho volleyed Flavio’s cross only for Malawi keeper Swadick Sanudi to smother the ball.

Djalma, who replaced Dede, then squandered a chance when his shot flew over the bar as the Black Antelopes had the Flames of Malawi on the rack.

On 33 minutes Djalma set up former Manchester United and Hull City striker Manucho whose fierce effort was only stopped by a superb save from Sanudi.

There was a touch of artistry from Malawi’s Peter Wadaba in the 40th minute when, with his back to the Angola goal, he flicked the ball with his heel at keeper Lama whose reflex save was equal to the threat.

Then in first half injury time Flavio’s corner found Manucho in the box but the mohican-haired striker headed over the woodwork from close range.

The second half was only three minutes old when Angola got the goal they deserved.

Djalma, enjoying a bright game, raced down the left in a move started by Mabina, and lofted the ball into the box for a charging Flavio, the striker based in Saudi Arabia, heading past Sanudi.

The president, tapping his white trainers excitedly, beamed.

His smile was even wider when, on 54 minutes, Manucho beat off Malawi skipper Peter Mponda to score from close range.

Mali had defied greater odds to grab a point last Sunday but Angola weren’t about to be caught napping twice.

The one sting in the tail for coach Manuel Jose was the sight of a raft of his troops hit the deck with various degrees of injury — Flavio had to be stretchered off as the hour struck.

Group A’s final batch of games are on Monday when Angola play Algeria in Luanda and Malawi take on Mali in Cabinda. — AFP

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Explainer: Why it is difficult to mine in South Africa

The Fraser Institute's annual survey of mining companies is not entirely wrong, South Africa is a difficult place to mine, say analysts

Afrofuturism meets Wabi-Sabi at Design Joburg

Architects, fashion designers and tastemakers descend on Johannesburg’s premium design event

Asiatic black bear cubs saved from illegal wildlife trade in...

Two bear cubs, weighing only 2.4kg and 3.3kg, were rescued from a man intending to sell them on the illicit wildlife market

How the ANC wants to re-evaluate cadre deployment during policy...

The party's decision to relook at the deployment process could result in a broadening of the pool of candidates for positions.
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×