African Cup of Nations Throws Up More Surprise Results

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Group outsiders Malawi were up against World Cup Finalists Algeria for the second round of this exciting competition and the action was back in the Luanda stadium, although the carnival atmosphere of last night had been replaced by a hollow silence as it seemed no one had bothered to show up to watch this match.

An error from the Algerian Goalkeeper gifted the underdogs of Malawi a chance on 17 minutes when his clearance rocketed against Kanyenda and ricocheted to Russel Mwafulirwa who struck into an empty net to give the Malawians the lead; much to the surprise of the few spectators in this ghostly stadium.

Six minutes later Saifi missed a great chance to equalize for Algeria when his chip over ‘keeper Sanudi had a little too much weight on it, but Malawi looked undeterred as they pushed on for a second goal and found it when Kafoteka latched on to the end of a cross to head home on thirty-five minutes.

The goals continued to come for Malawi in the second half when Russel’s shot bounced off the post and fell to Banda who happily obliged to make it 3-0. Algeria struggled to get into the game or show the class that helped them progress through the World Cup Qualifying stages and in the end Malawi claimed a 3-0 win and looked good for a spot in the next round.

Competition favorites Ivory Coast were up next against the low ranked Burkina Faso, all the sensible money was sure to go the way of Ivory Coast for this game despite the upsets to have taken place already in this CAN. The stadium in the controversial region of Cabinda was a little livelier than Luanda today as scores of fans came to watch the African giants in action.

The Ivoirians began the game well with their team of stars but despite a number of chances falling to the likes of Kone and Drogba, they failed to find the back of the net in a first half that they dominated. Burkina Faso looked helpless to stop the men in orange out-passing and out-playing them but with the half-time score at 0-0 they still had a chance to cause another upset.

Ivory Coast came out strong in the second half but Burkina Faso finally seemed to have found their feet and looked capable of getting a result for the first time in the game. They had their first shot on goal on 68 minutes after a drilled Free Kick from 30 yards bounced awkwardly in front of goal before being pushed away by the ‘keeper. Ivory Coast countered this move and hit Burkina Faso on the break, creating a fantastic chance for Kone who just needed to keep his composure and find the net but the speedy striker fluffed his shot wide.

With twenty minutes left and the score sheet still blank Ivory Coast looked to change things by bringing on Keita and Kalou, but Burkina Faso held strong defensively and kept the favorites away from goal as Drogba sent a Free Kick down the ‘keepers throat and Keita nearly got lucky with a wild cross. Dindane came on for the Ivory Coast with 81 minutes gone and the men in orange began to push for that elusive goal.

Drogba fired one on target from a tight angle, Dindane forced a decent save from the goalkeeper after trying to curl a left-footed shot under the crossbar and Bamba missed a free header from a corner after sneaking round to the back post. Ivory Coast continued to push for the winner but their night was summed up by a late miss from Salomon Kalou who blasted the ball into the heavens from 10 yards.

The game ended 0-0 and Burkina Faso stole a very useful, and deserved, point against the mighty Ivory Coast here. This is the group in which Togo dropped out of so both of these teams now only have Ghana to play before their fate is decided.