AFCON 2023: Algeria, Mali secure big build up friendly victories


In a thrilling weekend of pre-TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) friendly encounters, Algeria and Mali secured resounding victories, showcasing their prowess and boosting confidence ahead of the highly anticipated tournament set to kick off on January 13 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

In Togo, the Desert Foxes of Algeria exhibited a dominant performance, clinching a convincing 3-0 win against the Togolese side. The first half saw defender Rami Ben Sbaini opening the scoring, setting the tone for Algeria’s dominance. Islam Slimani, the all-time top scorer for the Algerian national team, doubled the lead in the second half, and Ben Sbaini secured his second goal and the team’s third. The victory serves as a significant morale boost for Algeria, who will face another friendly against Burundi on January 9 before heading to Bouake, where they will be based during the AFCON.

Mali, too, showcased their strength in a friendly against Guinea-Bissau, securing a remarkable 6-2 victory. The Eagles displayed an impressive attacking prowess with goals from Youssouf Niakate, Lassana Coulibaly, Kamory Doumbia, Sekou Niakate, Falaye Sacko, and Lassine Sinayoko. Guinea-Bissau managed to find the net twice through Mama Baldé and Carlos Mané, but it was not enough to overshadow Mali’s commanding performance.

Meanwhile, a goalless draw marked the friendly encounter between DR Congo and Angola, highlighting solid defensive performances from both teams. Despite the absence of goals, the match provided crucial preparation for the Leopards and Palancas Negras as they gear up for the upcoming AFCON.

Burkina Faso faced a stern challenge in a friendly against Iran, ending with a 2-1 loss for The Stallions. Mohamed Konate opened the scoring for Burkina Faso in the 17th minute, but Iran staged a comeback, securing two goals for the victory. While Burkina Faso faced disappointment, the match served as valuable experience against an opponent from outside the continent.

In Tunisia, a goalless draw unfolded between Tunisia and Mauritania, emphasizing a balanced performance from both sides. Coaches Jalal Kadri and Amir Abdou utilized the match for crucial preparations ahead of the continental football extravaganza, ensuring their teams are well-equipped for the challenges that lie ahead in the TotalEnergies CAF AFCON 2023.

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