Game: Angola vs Mali
Competition: African Cup of Nations 2010
Kickoff: January 10, 19:00 BST
Venue: Estadio 11 de Novembro,Luanda
Hosts Angola play Mali in the first game of the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Luanda on Sunday. The 2010 CAN provides Angola a major platform to showcase their overall development both on and off the field. After being knocked out at the quarter final stage in the last edition, the Black Antelopes would be hoping to match their performance of last time if not better it.
Angola – last five results – most recent game on top
v. Gambia (Draw 1-1) Manucho
v. Estonia (Loss 0-1)
v. Ghana (Draw 0-0)
v. Cameroon (Draw 0-0)
v. Malta (Win 2-1) Djalma,Macanga
Manuel Jose’s side has Algeria, Mali and Malawi for company. Algeria are expected to top the group and the result of this opening tie could determine who finishes second and makes it to the knockout stages. The Palanca Negras have a squad which is based on a formidable attacking line up. Flavio from Al-Shabab and captain Manucho from Valladolid will lead the line for Angola. Benfica’s pacy forward Mantorras will also pose a threat to the Mali backline.
Mali – last five results – most recent game on top
v. Egypt (Loss 0-1)
v. Qatar (Draw 0-0)
v. Iran (Win 2-1) N’Diaye,Traore
v. Ghana (Draw 2-2)
v. Sudan (Win 1-0) Kanoute
With the rich array of talent that Mali have at their disposal, they have been disappointing to say the least. They finished third in their qualification group behind Ghana and Benin. But on their day, Mali can be devastating. They have a plethora of talent to choose from in midfield and attack. Sevilla striker Frederic Omar Kanoute will be their main man up top. Ably supporting him from midfield will be the triumvirate of Momo Sissoko, Seydou Keita and Mahmadou Diarra. Mali have surprisingly included only five defenders in their squad so the onus will be on Bari center half Souleymane Diamoutene to thwart Angola’s charge.
Match Verdict: I fancy Mali to beat the home side. A narrow 2-1 win.
Angola 1-2 Mali (Manucho // Kanoute,Keita)