Afcon joy for hosts Angola

LUANDA - Angola and Algeria became the latest teams to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals after a 0-0 draw yesterday.

LUANDA - Angola and Algeria became the latest teams to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals after a 0-0 draw yesterday.

The split result suited both teams perfectly, with Angola going through as Group A winners on five points and Algeria as runners-up on four points.

Mali, who beat Malawi 3-1 in the simultaneous game in Cabinda, were also on four points but missed out on the head-to-head performance against Algeria.

Angola now progress to face the runners-up of Group B - either Ivory Coast, Ghana or Burkina Faso - in their Luanda fortress on Sunday, with Algeria taking on the Group B winners in Cabinda the same day.

A traffic jam outside meant the game started with the November 11 Stadium only half full, the crowd including the Algerian supporters - all 10 of them - and Angola's No 1 fan, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The World Cup qualifiers were at the hosts' heels from kickoff, desperate to avoid the ignominy of a first-round exit with South Africa 2010 looming.

After an open first quarter Angola were looking dangerous on the attack, with Mabina testing Desert Foxes keeper Faouzi Chaouchi in the 17th minute.

Down at the other end Nadir Belhadj floated in a 40m free-kick from the right but keeper Carlos Fernandes dealt comfortably with the threat.

Angola had their best chance two minutes from the break when Zekalanga slid the ball over to Djalma waiting in the box only for his close-range shot to lack the necessary oomph to cause Chaouchi much concern.

Minutes after the restart Zuela was stretchered off after suffering an injury. Defender Dias Caires entered the fray in his place.

On the hour mark Hamer Bouzza split open the Angola defence, charging into the right of the box but his angled shot went the wrong side of the far post.

l Supporters of Mali were disappointed after their team bowed out of the tournament despite a resounding win over Malawi.

Mali got off to a flying start with goals from Frederic Kanoute and Seydou Keita in the first and third minutes.

Russell Mwafulirwa replied for Malawi before Mamadou Bagayoko put the result beyond doubt five minutes from time.

Mali, who lost 1-0 to Algeria last week, have not made it past the first round in the Africa Cup of Nations since 2004 when they reached the semifinals. - Sapa-AFP and Reuters

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