Flavio, Manucho help Angola down Malawi

2010-01-15 10:00

ANGOLA avoided another Mali-style collapse to beat Malawi 2-0 and

move to the top of Africa Cup of Nations’ Group A yesterday evening.

The 2010 hosts put the trauma of seeing a four-goal lead evaporate

in the last quarter of an hour of their opening match behind them with goals

from Flavio and Manucho.

The result put Angola on four points with Malawi and Algeria on

three and Mali, beaten 1-0 by the Algerians in yesterday’s first match, propping

up the table on one point.

“The team put in a fantastic effort,” said Angola coach Manuel

Jose. “We had a lot of injuries, I had to take Gilberto off early. If he had

stayed on perhaps we could have closed down the game sooner.

“Then there was Flavio and Zuela, who had a problem in the last

minute. But they are the sort of sacrifices you have to make if you want to be

champions.

“I believed before the game that we could win it. The players were

free in their minds, their confidence was very high.”

Angola captain Carlos “Kali” Alonso added: “We showed our strength.

We felt more secure and our morale was high.”

Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri was upset over training facilities

accorded to his team in the run-up to the game.

“We’ve written a letter of protest to CAF (tournament organisers).

They didn’t let us train at the stadium, we were denied a chance to train

yesterday.”

Angola, with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos sporting the team’s

scarf, among the 50?000 crowd, burst out of the blocks.

They almost took a lightning lead when Manucho volleyed Flavio’s

cross only for Malawi keeper Swadick Sanudi to smother the ball.

On 33 minutes Djalma set up Real Valladolid striker Manucho, whose

fierce effort was only stopped by a superb save from Sanudi.

Jose was forced into an unscripted change of personnel when Jamuana

came on for injured Gilberto.

There was a touch of artistry from Malawi’s Peter Wadabwa in the

40th minute when, with his back facing the Angola goal, he flicked the ball with

his heel at keeper Carlos Fernandes, whose reflex save was equal to the

task.

In the first half injury time Flavio’s corner found Manucho in the

box, but the lanky striker headed over the woodwork from close range.

The second half was only three minutes old when Angola got the goal

they deserved. Djalma, enjoying a bright game, raced down the left in a move

started by Mabina and lofted the ball into the box for a charging Flavio, the

striker based in Saudi Arabia, to head past Sanudi.

The president, tapping his white trainers excitedly, beamed. His

smile was even wider when, on 54 minutes, Manucho beat off Malawi skipper Peter

Mponda to score from close range.

Mali had defied greater odds to grab a point last Sunday but Angola

weren’t about to be caught napping twice.

The one sting in the tail for Jose was the sight of a raft of his

troops hit the deck with various degrees of injury – Flavio had to be

stretchered off at the hour mark.


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