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Manucho gives Angola perfect start
Former Manchester United striker Manucho scored the decisive goal as Angola defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 to lift the Black Antelopes' level with Ivory Coast at the top of the Africa Cup of Nations Group B here on Sunday.
Manucho's goal earned the 2010 Cup hosts the important win after Alain Traore had cancelled out Angola's opener from Mateus.
These two sides were desperate to get points on the board after Ivory Coast's 1-0 victory over Sudan earlier in the Equatorial Guinea island capital.
Coach Jose Vidigal's Angola arguably edged the encounter up to the break, passing crisply and trying to find room down the wings, but both sides were in need of injecting more venom to their finishing.
Up front Flavio and Manucho, now in Spain with Real Valladolid, were linking up well enough.
In the 26th minute Belgian-based defender Gilberto failed to make the most of a charge into the box, his muted attempt comfortably smothered by Burkina Faso keeper Daouda Diakite
It was by no means all one way traffic as down at the other end the Angolan defence was called into service to block a shot from the lively Paul Keba Koulibaly.
Flavio was handed a gift-wrapped opportunity after the half hour but failed to do justice to Gilberto's freekick.
Burkina Faso put together a neat three-player move just before the interval but like a lot of their attempts it came to nought.
The goal the game badly needed came two minutes after the restart.
Sloppy defending in particular by Koulibaly let in striker Mateus who, after toying with the ball to get it on to his favoured right foot, struck low from the right of the box past Diakale to put Angola in command.
Koulibaly payed the price for his error, being hauled off by Burkina Faso coach Paulo Duarte with Mady Panandetiguiri coming on in his place.
On 57 minutes, Auxerre midfielder Traore put Burkina Faso back on level terms with his freekick curling around the Angolan wall, the ball flying into the bottom far corner of the unsighted and hence motionless Carlos' net.
That was his country's first Nations Cup goal since 2004.
Vidigal responded by replacing Flavio with midfielder Dede.
Manucho too responded in the best possible way, putting Angola back in front with a peach of a shot from outside the area after outfoxing Burkina Faso defender Bakary Kone.
His 68th minute strike would have brought a smile to the face of his former Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson.
Angola, who had to survive a frenetic closing ten minutes, will seek to wrap up a quarter-final spot against Sudan on Thursday with Burkina Faso facing Didier Drogba's Ivory Coast the same day.
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