Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Mali spoil the party for host nation Angola

Posted in African Football by peterbein on January 11, 2010
Mustapha Yatabare

Mustapha Yatabare scored the dramatic stoppage-time equalizer for Mali against Angola

After the troubles that have beset the tournament before a ball had even been kicked the Orange African Cup of Nations began in the most amazing fashion. Host nation Angola squandered a four goal lead in the final twelve minutes of the game to allow their opponents Mali to claim a most unlikely point, having to settle for a 4-4 draw.

Before the game both teams paid their respects to the victims of the gun attack that had targeted the Togo squad on Friday afternoon. Events since the shooting have provided confusion as to whether the Togolese would participate in the tournament or not but it’s been reported today that despite the Togo squad’s change of heart, their government has advised them not to travel and the organisers have now barred them from entry. Despite the politics of the situation the tournament was always going to go ahead and the two teams played at the Estadio 11 do Novembro under heavy security.

The first thirty minutes were largely dominated by the home side with players Flavio and Manucho impressing from the start. As the half went on Mali tried to impose themselves on the game physically but were made to pay in the 37th minute when Angola made their possession and quality count. Flavio deservedly scored for Angola with a close range header following a Gilberto free-kick. Five minutes later the hosts doubled their lead thanks to Flavio heading in an Alberto Mabina cross from the right.

The second half began with Mali looking to get back into the game early on as Mahamodou Diarra had their first serious chance of the game. However midway through the second half Angola had a great chance to extend their lead as Gilberto was brought down in the Mali penalty area by Mamadou Bagayoko. Gilberto took the kick and thought he’d scored but the referee ordered the kick to be re-taken but this didn’t put off Gilberto who dispatched the second attempt to make it 3-0. Another penalty was awarded on 73 minutes after Gilberto had been fouled yet again. This time, though, it was Manucho who took the spot kick and made it 4-0.

However the fun was just about to begin. In the 78th minute Mali scored what looked to be a mere consolation after Seydou Keita prodded home from six yards following an error from Angola ‘keeper Fernandes. Even when Freddie Kanouté scored Mali’s second goal two minutes from the end of normal time it looked like it was too little, too late. The Angolans began to show tired legs and the Malians had a shock in store for the home side. Barcelona star Keita ghosted in at the far post to volley home Mali’s third three minutes into stoppage-time and, one minute later, Mustapha Yatabaré secured the most amazing comeback when sliding in to tuck home a 94th minute equalizer. The hosts were stunned and the anguish on the home team’s faces was clear for all to see after the final whistle. After such a dramatic outcome to the tournament’s opening game let’s hope that the African Cup of Nations can now be remembered for the football during the rest of the competition. That will be the case if the rest of the tournament produces more matches like this one.