Orange Africa Cup of Nations – Thursday 26 January 2012

Group B:

Sudan (2) – (2) Angola

For Angola (nicknamed, Palancas Negras – The Sable Antelopes), a win would guarantee progression to the Quarter-Finals. For Sudan (nicknamed, Falcons of Jediane) avoiding defeat would at least mean they had something to play for in their last game. However, Sudan got off to the worst possible start and conceded a goal on 4 minutes. Nagm Eldin was caught in possession by Manucho who carried the ball into the Sudanese box before firing home confidently. Despite such a terrible start, Sudan didn’t capitulate and showed as they did against the Ivory Coast, good organisational ability to get back into the game. They were rewarded for their efforts just after the half-hour mark to level the game at 1-1. Sudan worked the ball wide to Mudather El Taib, who crossed and Mohamed Ahmed Bashir got between two defenders to sent a flicked header into the net. Buoyed by the goal, Sudan finished the half strongly. As in the first-half, Sudan started badly again in the second period, giving away a penalty within five minutes of the restart. Hamid Nazar clumsily and unnecessarily brought down Djalma and Manucho coolly slotted home the penalty. Credit to Sudan though as they stuck to their task once more to keep Angola at bay. Then on 74 minutes Sudan struck. A long ball into the box found Angolan defender Vunguidica unsure of how to deal with it. His attempted chesting down of the ball merely put the ball into the path of Mohamed Ahmed Bashir, who as four Angolan players looked on, swept in sweetly for his and Sudan’s second goal. The final passage of the game saw both sides look for a winner. In truth, a draw was a fair result and means both these sides are still in with a chance of further progress in the competition.


Ivory Coast (2) – (0) Burkina Faso

As with the match earlier, one side knew that victory would assure a place in the Quarter-Finals; that side being the Ivory Coast (nicknamed, Les Éléphants – The Elephants). What stood between them and that place was the team from Burkina Faso (nicknamed, Les Etalons  – The Stallions). Despite their status as tournament favourites, Ivory Coast were less than convincing in their win over Sudan and knew that Burkina Faso could be tricky fixture. Both sides continued to display the traits from their opening fixtures. Ivory Coast again flattered to deceive, whilst despite good organisation in midfield and up-front coupled with plenty of possession, Burkina Faso again demonstrated poor defensive abilities. After 16 minutes from a throw-in, a cross into the box was flicked at and missed by Yaya Touré allowing Salomon Kalou to fire a sweet half-volley home from six yards out. The second and killer goal came on 82 minutes. A free-kick just inside The Stallions half was pumped into their box and there was no communication between the two Burkina Faso defenders as they both went for the ball. Bakary Koné got the telling touch and with it the dubious pleasure of scoring an own goal and condemning his team to an early exit from the tournament. The Elephants triumphed 2-0 and are through to the Quarter-Finals, but will somebody take that George Graham coaching manual away from their dressing room.

Final Group B fixtures: Monday 30 January – Sudan v Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast v Angola