Group A: Angola vs Malawi

14 Jan

(Source- via BBC - Getty images)

The Angolan fans begun streaming into the stadium in time to catch the end of the clash between Algeria and Mali. Much to their delight, Mali were down and finished deflated. Advantage Angola. With a game in hand they go into their next match on equal points with their Malian compatriots. In their way stood Malawi. The surprise package of Phase 1 who lead the group with a good goal advantage to boost.

Angola came out firing on all cylinders. Stretching the Malawian back-four by playing down the wings and hitting the big target up front, Manucho. Malawi, buoyed by their strong victory over Algeria, stood firm and repelled wave after wave of Palancas pressure. They were determined to hold onto their place in the group and further their best performance in the Africa Cup of Nations to date. Previous outings have seen them gain only a solitary point with a draw with Nigeria.

Malawi played valiantly, stubbornly refusing to yield. In fact, the opening 20 minutes were not all Angola, with the Malawians carving out a few decent chances of their own. The Angolans eventually managed to set Manucho free on a couple of occasions, but he was unable to find the target. His best chance came when Malawi slowed the game down, taking the sting out of Angola’s pressure. They were nearly the architects of their own downfall however, when a pass went astray and found its way to Manucho, unmarked in the area. He controlled well but only managed to bring the ball onto his weaker right foot. His shot was on target and brought a fantastic save by Malawian keeper, Sanudi.

The half ended with a flurry of excitement. Kanyendo had a great chance for a Malawian opener but pulled it wide. Then an even bigger gasp went up when Malawi broke down the left wing and played a good ball in. Wadaba got across his defender and dug out a cheeky back-heel with some power that Carlos was grateful to fall onto. Stelvio got creative on the by-line and whipped in a good cross for Flavio but he just got under it and sent the ball millimetres over the bar. Angola had had the best chances but Malawi have already proved themselves more than capable of an upset and would love to spoil tonight’s party in Luanda.

The first half had played out almost as a carbon copy of the opening game and Palancas coach, Manuel Jose, must have put the wind in his team’s sails. Three minutes into the second half, Angola finally found away through. Some brilliant play in the centre of the park by Stelvio released Djalma down the left who swung in a brilliant ball to pick out Flavio in the box. The diminutive midfielder held his run superbly and powered forward to attack the ball and head it into the right side of the goal. 1 – 0

Flavio leads the race for the golden boot with 3 goals and his latest strike lifted both the crowd and the team. Minutes later Manucho could not believe his luck when Mponda dwelt on the ball allowing Manucho to pounch and pick his pocket. One-on-one with the keeper, Manucho held his nerve and lifted the ball over Sanudi to finally find the back of the net. A lesser striker may have taken an extra touch but Manucho showed the quality we are now used to seeing from the man. 2 – 0

It was time for the Angolans to be stingy and not allow Malawi any time on the ball. With Sunday’s slip-up fresh on their minds, the Palancas Negras streamed forward looking for a decisive third, all the while shutting out Malawi’s attempts. The Bandas soon ran out of ideas and played numerous balls over the top that were either comfortably collected by Carlos or went wildly out of play.

Flavio unfortunately picked up an injury, but this allowed folk hero Mantoras a chance to shine. If the roof had lifted with the goals, his welcome cheer was deafening. Angola may have only been 2 – 0 up, but they already looked better than the performance they put in when 4 – 0 up on Sunday. The introduction of Mantoras only added to their dominance on proceedings as the crowd got behind him, willing him to score. They almost got their wish when Mantoras sent a free kick narrowly over the cross bar.

Angola saw the game out, avoiding the bite of the Bandas who applied some pressure in the dying moments of the game. The side, however, may be in trouble as the effort took quite a toll on the squad who were dropping like flies with injuries, not to mention Stelvio who picked up a card and now misses the vital Algeria game. All in all, a great response to throwing away a 4 – 0 lead 3 days ago. They needed the win to give them a great chance to stay in the tournament, which is always great for the host side.

Final Score: Angola 2 – 0 Malawi

Man of the Match: Stelvio. Having picked up a yellow card early in the game, he knew he would miss the next game and so made a point of being the difference in midfield. He mopped up everything the Malawians threw and supplied a crucial pass for the opener. A great response and he will be missed against Algeria.

Goal of the Game: Manucho’s. Having missed many chances in the first half, he showed great character to finish convincingly when it mattered.

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One Response to “Group A: Angola vs Malawi”

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  1. Angola Vs Malawi - January 14, 2010

    […] Angola vs Malawi highlights – Africa Cup of Nations. Group A: Angola Vs Malawi « Out Of Africa […]

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