2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Friday 01 February 2013

With the action on the pitch not resuming until tomorrow, today provides an ideal opportunity to catch up with looking at the match-ball used for 2013 AFCON tournament.

Adidas are once again providing a specially commissioned ball, having produced the Wawa Aba (2008 AFCON – Ghana), Jabulani (2010 AFCON – Angola) and Comoequa (2012 AFCON – Equatorial Guinea and Gabon). For the 2013 tournament in South Africa, the Katlego was created.

Katlego, comes from the Sesotho word for ‘success’ and was selected by African football fans via an online voting competition. Adidas had provided three suggestions and Katlego emerged as the most popular, the other two names were Khanya (light) and Motswako (mixture).

The ball is a dinstinctive yellow colour and has the Adidas and CAF logo’s on it. In addition there is a triangular centrepiece surrounded by a splash of colours. This feature was inspired by the bold colours and geometric designs of the Ndebele print artworks and the dominant colours in many of the African national flags.

Unlike the much criticised version of the Jabulani ball used in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Katlego has not been the subject of any controversy (so far) in this tournament. Long may it continue to cross the line in a goals-fest as the competition enters the knock-out stage!

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Thursday 31 January 2013

Group D:

Algeria (0) 2 – 2 (0) Ivory Coast

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Despite the fact that there was nothing riding on this game as Ivory Coast were through and Algeria were out, it actually proved to be an entertaining encounter. With the pressure off, Ivory Coast rested a number of players, although Didier Drogba started for The Elephants. Algeria had the chance to go ahead in the first half when they were awarded a penalty, however Ryad Boudebouz could only hit the post and the chance was gone. Into the second-half and on sixty four minutes Arthur Bokam clumsily handled in the box to give Algeria a second penalty. Sofiane Feghouli made no mistake, putting it firmly into the top left hand corner. Six minutes later Algeria scored a second, when Feghoul got down the right wing and his cross was headed home by El Arbi Hillel Soudani, who had easily lost his marker. On seventy seven minutes Drogba got Ivory Coast back in the game when he delicately flicked home a header. The comeback was complete with nine minutes remaining, when Wilfried Bony let fly from outside the box, and his shot found the net after a wicked deflection off defender Rafik Halliche. At the whistle, Algeria left the tournament with their first goals and only point in the competition, whilst for Ivory Coast, the quest for the 2013 title continues.


Togo (1) 1 – 1 (1) Tunisia

Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Togo knew a point would be enough to see them through to the Quarter-Finals for the first time in their history, but it was by no means a simple task. They started the more positive of the two teams and took the lead on thirteen minutes. Adebayor made a surging run from half-way before playing in Serge Gakpé who finished smartly. However, replays suggested that Gakpé was offside, but the goals stood and Togo were ahead. Tunisia though responded and were level on the half-hour when Khaled Mouelhi converted a penalty after Walid Hichri was brought down following a corner; 1-1 at the break. The second-half became the story of the referee, South African Daniel Bennett, as blatant penalties were turned away for both sides, and then one awarded for a ‘soft’ challenge on Saber Khlifa. Khaled Mouelhi stepped up again but this time he hit the post; justice done. In addition, Bennett mistakenly booked Nibombe Dare, when in fact the foul was committed by Serge Akakpo. Despite the best efforts of Tunisia, Togo held on to progress. Tunisia like their North African neighbours Algeria were out.



(1) Ivory Coast, (2) Algeria, (3) Togo, (4) Tunisia.


Final Standings:

(1) Ivory Coast, (2) Togo, (3) Tunisia, (4) Algeria.


The competition now has a two day break and resumes on Saturday with the first two Quarter-Finals, with Sunday seeing the remaining two being played. The fixtures are as follows, with the latest CAF Rankings in brackets:

Saturday 02 February 2013

 Ghana (4) v Cape Verde (15)

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth


South Africa (22) v Mali (3)

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban


 Sunday 03 February 2013

 Ivory Coast (1) v Nigeria (9)

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg


Burkina Faso (23) v Togo (18)

Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Wednesday 30 January 2013

AFCONaltGroup C:

Burkina Faso (0) 0 – 0 (0) Zambia

Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

The 2012 AFCON Champions Zambia’s reign came to an end with a whimper rather than a bang. The Chipolopolo knew going into the game that only a victory would guarantee their passage into the Quarter-Finals. However, on the Nelspruit pitch that looked to be more sand than grass, Zambia could only draw 0-0. The draw would have been enough, if Nigeria had the same result against Ethiopia. In truth, Zambia created very few chances and even once news filtered through from Rustenburg that Nigeria were ahead, there seemed little urgency from the AFCON holders. Burkina Faso secured top spot with the draw, but their biggest worry is the injury to Alain Traore, who left the field on a stretcher in the opening quarter of the game. A disappointing exit for Zambia, but a fantastic achievement by Burkina Faso, putting behind them the disastrous 2012 Finals performance when they lost all three Group games.


Ethiopia (0) 0 – 2 (0) Nigeria

Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

In the end Nigeria came through to win the game and so clinch a place in the Quarter-Finals. However, with eleven minutes remaining the prospect of exiting the tournament by virtue of a worse disciplinary record than Zambia was a distinct possibility. Nigeria started the game well, but when they didn’t score, the nervousness of their fans seemed to translate to the players and Ethiopia came into the game. However, the Ethiopians were in long-ball mode and Nigeria easily dealt with the threat. Nigeria continued to dominate possession in the second-half, but it wasn’t until the seventy ninth minute that the breakthrough came. Alula Girma brought down Victor Moses and the Chelsea man got up to calmly score from the spot. Victory was confirmed on ninety minutes Moses was again the man who caused all the danger, when Ethiopia keeper brought him down and was subsequently dismissed. With the Ethiopians having used all their substitutes, midfielder Addis Hintsa donned the gloves to face the penalty. Moses again scored and The Super Eagles were on their way to the knock-out stage.



(1) Nigeria, (2) Zambia, (3) Ethiopia, (4) Burkina Faso


Final Standings:

(1) Burkina Faso, (2) Nigeria, (3) Zambia, (4) Ethiopia


Group D:

Algeria v Ivory Coast – Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Togo v Tunisia – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

With Ivory Coast already through, the attention in these final Group games falls on the Togo v Tunisia fixture. A draw would be enough for Togo to go through, whilst Tunisia have to win to ensure progress. Ivory Coast should see off Algeria to finish with a 100% record, and are likely to be joined by Togo who will beat Tunisia.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Tuesday 29 January 2013

Group B:

Niger (0) 0 – 3 (2) Ghana

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

This game was as straightforward as the final score suggests. Ghana were ahead within six minutes, when Albert Adomah was able to get behind the Niger defence to pull back the ball for Asamoah Gyan, who lashed it home from the edge of the six-yard box. There was however, a controversial moment on ten minutes, when Niger had a goal disallowed after the referee adjudged Moussa Maazou to have fouled Ghana keeper Dauda. It did look harsh and with that went the last major threat Niger posed during the game. On twenty three minutes, The Black Stars doubled their advantage; with the Niger defence back-pedalling Asamoah Gyan was able to cross to Christian Atsu, who controlled the ball on his chest before poking into the net as Niger defender Kourouma comically fell over, making the finish even easier. Ghana strolled to half-time with the game all but over at 2-0. Within four minutes of the second-half, the game was killed off when from a free-kick Asamoah Gyan’s header was spilled by Daouda and John Boye scored with the simplest of tap-ins. Ghana created further chances, but it was a comfortable 3-0 victory as one of the tournament favourites finished top of Group B.


Congo DR (1) 1 – 1 (1) Mali

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

This was the game in Group B that held all the interest, as the two sides were playing for second spot and progress to the Quarter-Finals. Mali knew that a draw would be enough, whist Congo DR had to win. Congo were positive from kick-off and hit the post in the opening minute from Lomana LuaLua. However, they didn’t have to wait long to actually go ahead as they were awarded a penalty on three minutes when Yves Diba was brought down by Momo Sissoko. Dieumerci Mbokani confidently converted the spot-kick to give Congo DR a 1-0 advantage and of course enabled keeper Robert Kidiaba to give the best goal celebration of the tournament so far, another airing. However, in a frantic opening fifteen minutes, Mali were soon on level terms. It was in truth a scruffy goal as Congo DR didn’t deal with the ball in the box and Mahamadou Samassa was able to finish from just outside the six-yard area. That goal meant Mali were back in second spot, but the game still had seventy five minutes to run. The pace of the game did not let up, but it became quite physical for a time as Youssouf Mulumbu and Seydou Keita received yellow cards. However, there were no more goals as the teams went in at the break at 1-1. Congo DR started the second period by bringing on striker Tresor Mputu, however Mali were proving to be well organised in dealing with the attacking threat of their opponents. As the half went on, it gained the ebb and flow that it had in the first period. However, as the game entered the last ten minutes it was Mali who looked the more likely to score as they hit the post on two occasions. First, a header from substitute Kalilou glanced off the right-hand post; then fellow substitute Cheick Diabate hit the post after rounding Congo DR keeper Robert Kidiaba. Into time added-on another chance fell to Mali as after a one-two Seydou Keita had his shot saved by Kidiaba. At the whistle there were scenes of joy and despair; Mali celebrated as they made it through, whilst the unbeaten Congo DR departed, deeply disappointed after three draws meant they were out.



(1) Ghana, (2) Mali, (3) Congo DR, (4) Niger

Final Standings:

(1) Ghana, (2) Mali, (3) Congo DR, (4) Niger


Group C:

Burkina Faso v Zambia – Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Ethiopia v Nigeria – Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Like the final round of games in Group A, those in Group C could also see a dramatic climax. Zambia the 2012 AFCON Champions know that they must beat Burkina Faso to ensure they make it through to the knock-out stage, whilst opponents Burkina Faso need only a draw to go through. Nigeria could go through with a draw if Burkina Faso beat Zambia, but would definitely qualify if they beat Ethiopia. The Ethiopians could progress as well, but that would require them beating Nigeria and hope that Zambia and Burkina Faso draw. My gut feeling is that Nigeria will get the win they need to go through to the Quarter-Finals, and that Zambia will exit the tournament after only drawing with Burkina Faso.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Monday 28 January 2013

Group A:

Morocco (1) 2 – 2 (0) South Africa

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban


Cape Verde (0) 2 – 1 (1) Angola

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth


If on Sunday football fans in England thought that the three FA Cup Fourth Round games (Brentford v Chelsea, Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur and Oldham Athletic v Liverpool), had provided drama, it was nothing compared to the last ten minutes of the final round of games in Group A at the 2013 AFCON. At half-time in Durban, Morocco were ahead 1-0 from a tenth minute goal from Issam El Adoua, whilst in Port Elizabeth, Angola were leading 1-0 after a thirty third minute own-goal from Nando Maria Neves. So at the break, Morocco were going through as Group winners with South Africa in second ahead of Angola (both were on four points) due to the head-to-head rule. The various permutations started to come into play when on seventy one minutes, May Mahlangu brilliantly curled in an equaliser for South Africa from outside the penalty area. That goal meant Morocco were out and that South Africa and Angola would progress to the Quarter-Finals. It was all quiet until eighty one minutes and then it was pandemonium. In Port Elizabeth Fernando Varela scored for Cape Verde to make it 1-1 and a minute later in Durban Abdelilah Hafidi gave Morocco a 2-1 lead. Now Morocco and South Africa were going through. On eighty six minutes, South Africa levelled with another brilliant curling effort from outside the box, this time from Siyabonga Sangweni. Morocco knew that they were now in trouble as a goal in the game at Port Elizabeth would see the out of the tournament. Incredibly, with the game in time added-on, Héldon Ramos fired homefor CApe Verde, after Angolan keeper Lama spilled a cross-shot. Cape Verde saw out the remaining minutes, but the game was still going in Durban. However, Morocco could not find another goal and they exited the competition, as hosts South Africa topped Group A with Cape Verde in second.


(1) Morocco, (2) Angola, (3) Cape Verde, (4) South Africa.

Final Standing:

(1) South Africa, (2) Cape Verde, (3) Morocco, (4) Angola


Group B:

Niger v Ghana

Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth


Congo DR v Mali

Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban


Ghana could lose and still qualify (depending on the other result); however a point against Niger would guarantee progression in the tournament. Niger could qualify, but will have to beat Ghana and hope the other result goes their way. It is a very simple equation for Congo DR; they can only progress to the Quarter-Finals if they beat Mali. For the Malians to qualify for the knock-out phase, they only need to avoid defeat. Will Group B provide as much spectacle as the final round of games in Group A?

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Sunday 27 January 2013

Group D: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Ivory Coast (1) 3 – 0 (0) Tunisia

A performance from The Elephants that justified their tag as favourites as they comfortably overcame Tunisia. Ivory Coast dominated from the off and therefore it was no surprise when the team that is top of the latest CAF Rankings took the lead on twenty one minutes. Tunisia didn’t clear the ball inside the penalty box and instead it was collected by Gervinho who played a one-two with Lacina Traore, whose clever back-heel allowed the Arsenal forward to side-foot past Ben Cherifa in the Tunisian goal. The Elephants were good value for their half-time lead and even had a decent shout for a penalty turned down just before the break. On the hour Ivory Coast were again questioning the abilities of the match officials when Salomon Kalou slotted home after a pull-back from Gervinho. The Gunners forward was flagged offside, but replays suggested he was not. Tunisia stuck to their task, but were undone late in the game. On eighty seven minutes Yaya Toure received the ball outside the penalty area and after one touch let fly with his right foot a shot that arrowed into the net. As the fulltime whistle approached The Elephants got a third goal, as Hannover 96 striker Didier Ya Konan, who had only just came onto the pitch, picked his spot into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. A promising display from Ivory Coast, but they have flattered to deceive in previous AFCON tournaments. Is 2013 their year?


Algeria (0) 0 – (1) 2 Togo

After this win Togo know that a draw in their final game against Tunisia will be enough to seem them through to the Quarter-Finals. Algeria though exit the competition after a second successive defeat. Algeria had plenty of possession in the opening half, but it was Togo who went ahead. On thirty one minutes Emmanuel Adebayor played a headed one-two with Moustapha Salifou before coolly finishing past Rais Mbolhi from the edge of the area. Algeria started the second period in a positive manner and had a couple of decent penalty shouts turned down. However, with the game approaching the last five minutes, Algerian Adlene Guedioura ran into his own net and in the process damaged the left hand goalpost. The game was then delayed for nearly fifteen minutes whilst it was fixed. Once the game recommenced, and with an addition thirteen minutes time added-on, Togo got a second clinching goal when Dove Wome collected a through ball before taking it on into the box and then slotting past Rais Mbolhi. When the whistle was eventually blown, Algeria the number two CAF Ranked team were out. Perhaps the bookies knew a think though; they had the Algerians out at 14/1.


Group A:

Morocco v South Africa – Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

The last round of Group games sees the end of the ‘double-headers’ that have featured at the various venues to date, with the remaining games at different venues, but with the same kick-off time. For hosts South Africa a win or draw will see them into the Quarter-Finals. For their opponents Morocco, a win over the Bafana Bafana would definitely see them through. However, a draw might still be enough for Morocco, but their progress will be dependent on the Cape Verde and Angola result. Expect numerous swings in who is in then out as the ninety minutes unfold.


Cape Verde v Angola – Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Cape Verde enters the game knowing that if they beat Angola and South Africa beat Morocco, then they will progress. It would be quite an achievement for the side making its debut in the AFCON. A draw will also be enough again if South Africa beat Morocco, but anything less and the various combinations of results, goals scored etc. will come into play. Even currently bottom placed Angola are not out of qualifying for the knock-out stages, as they would progress if they beat Cape Verde and Morocco draw with South Africa. Let the drama commence.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Saturday 26 January 2013

2013ACNGroup C: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Zambia (0) 1 – 1 (0) Nigeria

As in the first round of games at the Mbombela Stadium, the pitch did not look in great condition. However, this was a game that will be remembered as the story of two penalties – one missed and one scored – and not the dry uneven and hard surface in Nelspruit. The first penalty was awarded on twenty five minutes, when Zambia defender Davies Nkausu fouled Ahmed Musa. It was a blatant penalty and the challenge was reckless; symptomatic of some very poor tackling witnessed in the 2013 AFCON tournament so far. The Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel stepped up, but his effort clipped the post and went wide. However, Mikel redeemed himself on fifty seven minutes when he out-muscled the Zambian midfield to provide a through ball for Emmanuel Emenike. The Spartak Moscow striker cut inside the defender and finished excellently into the bottom left corner. With the game entering the last five minutes, the second penalty of the day was awarded. This though in contrast to the one for Nigeria was controversial, as Ogenyi Onazi appeared to make little contact with the Southampton striker Emmanuel Mayuka. Stepping up to take the spot-kick was Zambian keeper Kennedy Mweene who coolly levelled the game, showing many an outfield player how a penalty should be taken. Both teams can still go through, but to be certain Zambia and Nigeria would need to win their remaining respective group games.


Burkina Faso (1) 4 – 0 (0) Ethiopia

A resounding victory for Burkina Faso as The Stallions went to the top of Group C and achieved it with ten men. However, games can turn on a single incident. In the case of Ethiopia they will look to the chance they created in the opening five minutes, when Shimelese Bekele slotted past Burkina Faso keeper Soulama only to see his shot come back off the post. On twenty minutes The Stallions had the ball in the Ethiopian net from Wilfried Sanou, but was ruled offside. However, on thirty four minutes Burkina Faso did go ahead when unmarked Alain Traoré collected in the box and superbly fired home on the half-volley. Burkina Faso held this lead into the break before what was to be a very interesting second-half. On the hour, from a long ball through, The Stallions keeper Soulama handled outside the area and was sent-off. Ethiopia were unable to make their numerical advantage tell and instead Burkina Faso increased their lead on seventy four minutes when Alain Traoré unleashed a left footed screamer from outside the box which flew past Tadelle in the Ethiopian goal. The Stallions were now rampant and on seventy nine minutes, Ethiopia lost possession in midfield and Pitroipa played in Djakaridja Kone who slid it past the advancing Tadelle. As the game went into time added-on, Burkina Faso grabbed a fourth goal as they broke on the right against a shell-shocked Ethiopian defence, and Pitroipa was able to easily finish unchallenged just outside the six yard box. Top spot for The Stallions and a Quarter-Final place in touching distance.


Group D: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Ivory Coast v Tunisia/Algeria v Togo

The last of the second round of Group games, which first up, sees Ivory Coast against Tunisia, both of whom won their opening fixtures. A victory later today for either team would guarantee a place in the Quarter-Finals. Ivory Coast are the competition favourites and will hope to seal their place with a game to spare, although Tunisia have to be watched having shocked their North African neighbours Algeria in the opening round of games. Togo will feel they were unlucky to lose late on against Ivory Coast and will look to get points on the board against Algeria.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Friday 25 January 2013

Group B: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Ghana (1) 1 – 0 (0) Mali

Ghana went to the top of Group B with a single goal victory over Mali. However, Mali will point to a controversial incident that happened in the sixth minute which may have changed the course of the game. As Ghanaian defender John Boye attempted to shepherd the ball back, keeper Fatau Dauda came out of his area and slipped. As Mali midfielder Seydou Keita looked to capitalise on the slip, Dauda handled outside the area, clearly denying a goal scoring opportunity. The referee Noumandiez Doue from the Ivory Coast decided to merely book the errant keeper, much to the obvious disbelief of the Mali players. From the resultant free-kick, Keita curled his shot just wide with Dauda static on his line and well beaten. Genuine chances were few and far between, but just after the half-hour mark, a free-kick from Ghana’s Mubarak Wakaso was met by a powerful header from Emmanuel Agyemang Badu which grazed the outside of the post. Badu was then instrumental in Ghana taking the lead, when on thirty eight minutes he was brought down by Adama Tamboura. Mubarak Wakaso fired home and The Black Star were ahead 1-0 a lead they took into half-time. The second-half became memorable not for an outstanding forty five minutes of football, but a scruffy tussle as five more players entered the referee’s notebook. Ghana took the three points and moved to the top of the Group.


Niger (0) 0 – 0 (0) Congo DR

Another draw and another 0-0 in the 2013 AFCON tournament. What will be remembered is that it was the first point Niger gained in AFCON Finals. In their debut in 2012, The Menas lost all three Group C games to Gabon (2-0), Tunisia (2-1) and Morocco (1-0). Whilst the game was far from being a classic, what chances were created brought out the best of the two goalkeepers, Daouda for Niger and Kidiaba for Congo DR. In the final round of matches, Niger plays Ghana, whilst Congo DR will take on Mali.


Group C: Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit

Zambia v Nigeria/Burkina Faso v Ethiopia

It’s a case of all square before these games kick-off later today, as both opening round games ended 1-1. These second round fixtures look difficult to call and it could be that both games end in draws again. In a Group ’round-robin’ format, the nature of the results and the order of opponents can create all sorts of mindsets for players and coaches alike. In the instance of the perceived favourites Zambia and Nigeria fixture today, are they content to take a point each and then look to clinch qualification in the last game against supposed weaker opposition? Or it there an attempt to win the game and so look to eliminate one of the stronger teams now and so not have the prospect of facing them in the knock-out phase? For Burkina Faso and Ethiopia is it a case of win at all cost to have any chance of qualifying? Of the eight opening round games, five were drawn (63%), which compares to 50% of the four games played so far in the second round. It will be interesting to see how the three rounds compare.


2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Thursday 24 January 2013

Group A: Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

South Africa (1) 2 – 0 (0) Angola

Yesterday I opined that it would be “…despair in Durban…” for South Africa, however it was actually delight in Durban as the hosts secured all three points against Angola. Coach Gordon Igesund made a number of changes to his line-up for this match and it paid dividends. Bafana Bafana looked a different side to that which opened the tournament last Saturday as they dominated play from the off, with chances falling to Khumalo, Rantie and Mphela. On thirty minutes the breakthrough came, when from a poor defensive header from Lunguinha allowed Siyabonga Sangweni to volley home comprehensively. Angola responded before half-time with a couple of chances, first Khune the South African keeper kept out an effort from Manucho, which was followed by a Mateus shot which was skewed well over the bar. The Angolans started the second-half as they had finished the first in a positive manner, and cretaed an early chance which Khune in goal for South Africa was well positioned to save from Guilherme Afonso. South Africa were now playing on the counterattack and on sixty two minutes, a long ball out of midfield was collected by Lehlohonolo Majoro who carried the ball down the by-line, cut back inside the defender and then scored when he nut-meged Angolan keeper Lama. Chances continued to fall to both sides, with Majoro having the best opportunity for South Africa and late on Manucho for Angola. A win for the hosts which means that a point against Morocco and they are through. Angola can still qualify, but they would have to beat Cape Verde and hope that South Africa draw or beat Morocco.


Morocco (0) 1 – 1 (0) Cape Verde

Morocco were my tip to pinch the points in a tight game. In the end it was honours even in a real end-to-end encounter. Cape Verde in the first-half continued to show that they more than deserve their place at these Finals with an impressive attacking display. Platini, Ryan Mendes and Tavares were causing all sorts of problems to the Moroccan defence and it was no surprise when they went ahead on thirty six minutes. Ryan Mendes won the half-way line and drove at the Moroccan defence and then slipped the ball through for Platini whose finish was excellent as he dinked it over the advancing Nadir Lamyaghri. In the second-half Morocco used all three substitutions as the game ticked away. However, the Moroccans were starting to create chances and on seventy eight minutes they drew level. Abdelaziz Barrada had room out wide and he was able to pick out Youssef El-Arabi. His shot found the net through a crowd of players with Cape Verde keeper Vozinha unsighted. The North African side went in search of the winner, but Cape Verde hung on and it was well deserved. Both sides can still qualify for the knock-out phase, but they will have to win their respective remaining fixtures as a draw will not be enough for either of them.


Group B: Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth

Ghana v Mali/Niger v Congo DR

Mali can clinch qualification if they beat Ghana and Niger will be eliminated if they lose to Congo DR. Ghana played Mali in the 2012 AFCON competition in Group D, when second-half goals from Asamoah Gyan and André Ayew gave Ghana a 2-0 win. Mali got their revenge in the Third Place Play-off game when a double from Cheick Diabaté sealed a win for The Eagles. A draw on the cards between these two, for what could on paper could be a bit of a classic. For Niger and Congo DR it will be their first meeting and Congo DR should be too strong for Niger.

2013 Africa Cup of Nations Finals – Wednesday 23 January 2013

Group D: Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg

Ivory Coast (1) 2 – 1 (1) Togo

The tournament favourites Ivory Coast got off to a winning start, but left it very late to clinch it. However, it was a nervy start from The Elephants, who could have gone behind after two minutes. Kolo Toure made a hash of a back pass allowing Emmanuel Adebayor in on goal; however, goalkeeper Boubacar Barry did enough to tip the ball away from the Togo forward. On eight minutes Ivory Coast went ahead, after Gervinho did well to get down the wing and cut the ball back, where Yaya Toure fired in a shot. It found the net after taking a deflection from the despairing lounges of the Togo defence. The Elephants continued to dominate with Max Gradel and Gervinho causing problems as the game move to the half hour mark. However, gradually Togo came into the game in the closing fifteen minutes, but nearly conceded a second on forty four minutes when a Yaya Toure shot cannoned off the post. Togo made The Elephants pay when in time added-on a scuffed corner from Serge Gakpa was clipped in by Jonathan Ayite. Into the second-half and Togo looked to frustrate the Ivory Coast, as both sides shuffled their pack in search of a winner with the subdued Didier Drogba replaced on seventy four minutes. In the end it took an error to provide the next goal, when on eighty eight minutes a free-kick by Yaya Toure was misjudged by Togo keeper Kossi Agassa leaving Gervinho to fire into an empty net. However, Togo so nearly grabbed an equaliser in time added-on, but Boubacar Barry saved brilliantly from Floyd Ayite’s diving header. Three points for the tournament favourites, but they were made to work for them.


Tunisia (0) 1 – 0 (0) Algeria

There was very little good or memorable about this game and just as it looked like the 2013 competition had another 0-0 on its hands a moment of pure class settled this game. As the ninety minutes were up, the crowd saw they had four minutes of time added-on to endure. In the first minute of the four, Youssef Msakni collected the ball outside the box on the left hand side and then cut inside toward the centre of the pitch; he then unleashed a perfect curler into the top corner out of the reach of Algerian keeper M’Bolhi. The goal of the tournament so far and the first upset of the competition as well.


Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

Group A: Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban

South Africa v Angola/Morocco v Cape Verde

With both opening fixtures of Group A finishing 0-0, everyone is on the same footing as the second round of games commences. South Africa as hosts were unable to provide the country with the win they wanted against Cape Verde and Angola will look to capitalise on the pressure the Bafana Bafana will be under. Angola to nick this one and cause despair in Durban. Morocco will find Cape Verde are an organised outfit, but should come through if they can turn the possession they had against Angola into chances.