AFCON 2023: Algeria drop points against Angola


In a surprising turn of events at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2024, two-time champions Algeria found themselves dropping crucial points after being held to a 1-1 draw by a resilient Angola side.

The Desert Warriors, clear favorites entering the tournament, faced frustration in their opening fixture in Bouaké as they were unable to secure a victory, extending their winless streak in AFCON since the 2019 final.

Algeria asserted their dominance early in the match, with Baghdad Bounedjah showcasing his scoring prowess by expertly volleying Youcef Belaïli’s over-the-top ball past Angola’s goalkeeper Neblú.

Bounedjah, the scorer of Algeria’s first and final goals in their triumphant 2019 AFCON campaign, came close to doubling his tally with a spectacular overhead kick, but an offside decision spared Angola.

Angola, despite having limited possession, remained within striking distance of their more illustrious opponents at halftime. In the second half, Angola altered their style of play, exposing themselves in defense but tipping the balance in their favor.

Their efforts were rewarded when Mabululu was fouled in the area by Nabil Bentaleb, earning Angola a penalty. Mabululu stepped up and smashed the ball off the underside of the crossbar, leveling the score at 1-1 and igniting hopes of a historic AFCON win for the Sable Antelopes.

Both teams pushed for the win, but the match ultimately ended in a draw, making Angola the latest side to secure points against a tournament favorite. For Algeria, the result is a setback as they aim to avoid a repeat of their 2021 campaign, where they earned only one point in their title defense.

On the other hand, Angola, buoyed by the valuable point against the group favorites, will be inspired to replicate their previous AFCON quarter-final runs in 2008 and 2010 as the tournament progresses.

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