DAY 2 - The shocks continued on the second day of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Angola with Algeria stunned by Malawi in Group A and heavily fancied Côte d'Ivoire denied a win in the opening Group B match against Burkina Faso.
Algeria, bound for the FIFA World Cup™ later this year, looked shocked after going behind against Malawi in just the 17th minute from a defensive fluke and ended up losing 3-0. It was a horror start to the event for Les Fennecs, but a time for celebration for the Flames of Malawi, who had never won a Nations Cup match before.
Côte d'Ivoire threatened Burkina Faso’s net often, but Didier Drogba and Bakary Kone missed the target repeatedly as the Elephants had to settle for a scoreless draw. The tournament favourites will be even more frustrated knowing that they had scored eight goals against the Burkinabe in two FIFA World Cup qualifiers over the last six months.
Goal of the day
Malawi 2-0 Algeria, Elvis Kafoteka (35’)
With Algeria struggling to regain their footing after going behind, Malawi took full advantage of a dead-ball situation 10 minutes from time to double their advantage. Full-back Moses Chavula delivered a pin-point cross from the left side to the edge of the six-yard box, and Kafoteka rose between two defenders and got a full swivel of his head onto the ball, propelling it into the back of the net.
Opening goal sets the tone
The error that led to Malawi’s first goal was the turning point of the match in Luanda as goalkeeper Fawzi Chaouchi clattered into defender Madjid Bougherra and then watched as his clearance ricocheted off the chest of charging Malawian striker Esau Kanyenda and fell to Mwafulirwa. The target man still had some work to do from an acute angle, but he buried the ball to give Malawi a 17th minute lead and the self belief needed to go on and grab all three points.
New stadium sees silent tribute
The teams based in Cabinda have had an anxious few days in the wake of the deadly attack on the Togo team bus. As will be the case at all of the opening matches, a moment’s silence preceded the match between Burkina Faso and Côte d'Ivoire at the sparkling new Chiazi Stadium, where the match between Togo and Ghana would have been played had it not be cancelled.
Kone’s frustrating day
With freedom to run at defenders in his team’s wide-open offensive scheme, Kone tormented Burkina Faso throughout the match with his speed and quickness, but ultimately the closest calls were his to miss. After going close twice in the opening 15 minutes, he surely thought he scored just minutes before half-time after Drogba set him up from the left. However, Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda Diakite reacted quickly for the underdogs and was able to tip the shot over the bar.
Blame it on the heat
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane claimed after the loss to Malawi that his side’s poor showing was partially down to the weather. The humidity and heat were too much for his players, he complained afterwards, but when pressed he did not offer an explanation as to why he decided to prepare in the chilly south of France rather than in tropical conditions more akin to those in Angola.
23 – The number of shots taken on goal during the match between the Ivorians and Burkina Faso in Cabinda. The defensive-minded Burkinabe managed just two of the 23 efforts – a 30-yard free kick and snap shot from Charles Kabore late in the game, which was blocked.
What they said
"We are the biggest underdogs in this tournament but we know our own strengths. We just seek to keep it simple, and this is a good start for us. We want to reach as far as we can, and we need to build on what we did in this game.” Malawi midfield general Joseph Kamwendo.
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