CAPE VERDE, CONGO DR IN STALEMATE
Cape Verde and Congo DR played out a goalless draw in their Orange Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group B match at the Ebebiyin Stadium.
Both sides drew their opening matches and a win for either side could have brightened their quest for qualifying for the knock-out stage.
It was a game of two halves as Cape Verde failed to make the most of their first-half dominance while Congo DR improved after the break, but could not put their noses in front.
Kuca almost put Cape Verde ahead barely five minutes into the game after some exchange of passes found him in the box only for the winger to shoot wide with the post gapping.
They continued to dominate and a free kick from Babanco saw the Congo DR keeper, Muteba Kidiaba scrambling desperately across his line.
After the break, Congo had a rare opportunity at goal as Mabwati gained possession on the left before firing a shot into the side netting.
Muteba Kidiaba made a fine save in the 88th minute from Heldon’s strike to keep the scores level and end the game scoreless.
Cape Verde: Vozinha, Gege, Carlitos, Fernando Varela, Stopira, Calu, Babanco, Nuno Rocha, Julio Tavares, Kuca, Ryan Mendes
DR Congo: Kidiaba, Mbemba, Kasusula, Kimwaki, Issama, Mulumbu, Mabwati, Mabidi, Bolasie, Mbokani
LATE STRIKE GIVES TUNISIA VICTORY OVER ZAMBIA
Tunisia came from behind to beat Zambia 2-1 in their second Group B match at the Orange Africa Cup of Nations.
Emmanuel Mayuka put Zambia ahead in the 59th minute but Ahmed Akaichi levelled the score in the 70th minute and in the process becoming the first player to score twice in the tournament.
Captain Yassine Chikhaoui headed a late winner as the Carthage Eagles bagged all three points at stake.
Tunisia should have been awarded an early penalty as Zambia defender Stoppila Sunzu stopped the ball with his arm preventing Wahbi Khazri’s pass to reach an unmarked team mate close to goal. The referee waved play on much to the chagrin of the Tunisians.
It was all Zambia afterwards as they dominated play and threatened to score.
Captain Rainford Kalaba, their tormentor-in-chief, almost broke the deadlock with three shots that went wide.
He was on hand yet again to force a fine save from goalkeeper Aymen Mathlouthi who tipped his shot over the bar. Another of his effort at goal was blocked by Houcine Ragued.
On the stroke of half-time, the Zambians had a chance of scoring the opening goal after a defensive mix-up between two Tunisians gave Mayuka a clear sight at goal. But he embarrassingly kicked the air instead of the ball which fell into the hands of the keeper.
In the second half, Tunisia had another penalty appeal rejected when Emmanuel Mbola appeared to foul Youssef Msakni in the box but the referee saw it as a fair challenge.
Zambia’s effort finally paid off when Mayuka put the Chipolopolo ahead.
Akaichi levelled 11 minutes later before Chikhaoui sealed victory for the North Africans.
Zambia: Mweene, Munthali, Nkausu, Musonda, Kangwa, Mtonga, Sunzu, Singuluma, Kalaba, Mbola, Mayuka
Tunisia: Mathlouthi, Bedoui, Maaloul, Ben Youssef, Abdennour, Ragued, Saihi, Chikhaoui, Khazri, Msakni, Akaichi
DAY 7 FIXTURES
Ghana v Algeria
South Africa v Senegal
GRANT LASHES AT CAF OVER ‘UNFAIR’ TREATMENT
Ghana coach, Avram Grant, has accused CAF of biased treatment against his team ahead of the crucial game against Algeria on Friday.
The Black Stars are desperate for a win against the tournament favourites following their 2-1 loss to Senegal in their opening Group C match.
But the team was made to do their official pre-match training session in Oyala which is almost an hour’s drive away from Mongomo, the venue of the match. While the team’s official pre-match press conference was also set at 7pm local time.
And Grant believes the long drive and hectic press parley are calculated to disrupt his preparations for the win-or-bust game.
“The journalist that were here the last time know I said good things about the organisation [of 2015 AFCON] but I must say now I am not so happy,” he said.
“I have coached for a long time and I don’t think it is right to set a press conference at a time I am supposed to be with the team.
“Secondly on the day before the game we have to drive over one and a half hour for training. The reason why I came [to press conference] is that I respect the work of the journalist. But that wouldn’t be the case next time.
“Then they don’t allow us to train near our hotel but allow Algeria to train near their hotel. They changed the venue of the training and we asked that they bring it close but they refused. And the bus we have moves like a ship, we are the only team with this kind of bus.”
SOUTH AFRICA TIPPED TO BEAT SENEGAL
Former South Africa international, Rowen Fernandez, believes that Bafana Bafana will beat Senegal if they can replicate the performance of their opening game against Algeria.
The team lost that match 3-1 but Shakes Mashaba’s side put in an impressive performance and would have been two goals up had they converted the penalty the referee awarded them.
South Africa must avoid defeat to Senegal if they are to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stages and Fernandez is confident that they have a solid chance of getting three points in the game.
“I think if we can play the same way that we played against Algeria, we can beat Senegal tomorrow [Friday],” the goalkeeper, who was part of South Africa’s squad at the 2008 AFCON, told Goal.
“I mean, we outplayed Africa’s top ranked side and we could have easily won 3-0 or 4-0 had we taken our chances.
“Vilakazi Sibusiso, Jali Andile and Rantie Tokelo all had chances that we would need to take if we want to win against Senegal.
“We need to take the positive from the previous game – that being the number of chances that we create – and we must leave behind the negative [that we missed so many].”
SEREY DIE: WE WILL FIGHT LIKE WARRIORS
Cote d’Ivoire midfielder, Geoffrey Serey Die, believes that only a good performance will see them beat Mali when the sides meet for their Orange Africa Cup of Nations clash on Saturday.
The player was truthful enough to admit that his side played below their strength against Guinea in their opening match but they aim to bounce back stronger.
“Against Guinea, we had a very poor start and ended up in trouble. But we had the resources to fight back and a draw was good to take.
“We have a team good enough to go far in this competition. Mali may be a step up from Guinea but each match has his own reality. We are going to show a different face against Mali. Anyway, it is going to be war against them.”
With Mali and Cameroon also playing a draw in the group’s other game, Die says everyone still has a chance of advancing to the next round.
“Nothing is over yet in this group. We all have the same chances. We are going to fight like warriors to win our next two games and qualify for the next round.”
AUBAMEYANG: I FLOPPED AGAINST CONGO
Gabon forward, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, has admitted that he had a poor game in his side loss to Congo on Wednesday.
After beating Burkina Faso in their opening match on Saturday, Gabon were favourites heading into the clash in midweek, but a goal from Prince Oniangue was enough to seal the three points for Congo.
Afterwards, Aubameyang acknowledged he was well below his best.
“I was a flop in this match. I must confess. I didn’t play as well as I was personally expecting,” he said.
“We failed to create and use our own rhythm. We played according to their rhythm and eventually fell into their trap, but the tournament goes on and I believe we can still go through despite today’s [Wednesday’s] debacle.”
His coach Jorge Costa said he was frustrated at the number of errors his players committed.
“It was a tough encounter. We tried to equalise after conceding that goal but failed due to the mistakes my players were making,” he said.
“That is football. I’m not mad at them. It is not over yet. We still have one more game and we can claim three points to qualify.”
Gabon will face host Equatorial Guinea on Sunday in their final group game.