Angola and Algeria advanced to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations thanks to a goalless draw in Luanda. With Mali beating Malawi in the other Group A match, a point apiece proved enough in a game that started brightly before petering out in the second half.
All four nations went into their final group games with the hope of qualifying, with the leaders Angola knowing a draw would be enough to guarantee their progress. Although the hosts created early chances, Algeria could have taken the lead through fussballtrikots Madjid Bougherra after 22 minutes but the defender failed to beat the goalkeeper Carlos Fernandes from five yards out.
Minutes later, Faouzi Chaouchi was forced to pull off a brilliant save in the Algeria goal from Zé Kalanga’s superb free-kick. Chaouchi then blocked Djalma’s shot with his legs as the first half ended goalless.
The Desert Hawks began the second half on the offensive and Karim Matmour just failed to get a touch on Hameur Bouazza’s low cross. Bouazza then poked wide from a tight angle on the hour mark but, with both sides looking set to book their spots in the last eight, the pace dropped markedly.
While the draw could have provided Malawi with a route to the quarter-finals, they were immediately put on the back foot by an electric start from Mali, who were two goals up inside the first five minutes.
The Malians needed to win and hope for an Algeria defeat and their hopes were lifted by Frédéric Kanouté’s first-minute strike following a goalkeeping blunder from Swadick Sanudi. Seydou Keita then added a billige fußballtrikots second with a thumping free-kick two minutes later.
Russel Mwafulirwa pulled one back for Malawi after 58 minutes but he will rue a missed header after 71 minutes which could have put his side through. Instead, Mamadou Bagayoko added another for Mali with four minutes to play.
Angola topped the group thanks to their victory over Malawi and two draws while Algeria finished level on four points with Mali but progress courtesy of their 1-0 victory over their rivals – the only match in which they have found the net.
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