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Mali produce stunning fightback

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10 Jan 2010 21:52:59

Mali produce stunning fightback

Mustapha Yatabare slid in a dramatic equaliser deep into stoppage time to help Mali complete an astonishing comeback in the opening match of the African Nations Cup to draw 4-4 against hosts Angola in Luanda.

Trailing 4-0 and seemingly playing for pride after a brace from Flavio Amado and penalties from Gilberto and Manucho had put the home side in front with just 11 minutes remaining, Seydou Keita gave the Eagles hope when he scrambled the ball home from a Carlos Fernandes error.

But Frederic Kanoute glanced home a fine header to halve the deficit in the 87th minute, before a second from Keita in time added on and Yatabare's effort completed a sensational turnaround which stunned the home fans at the Estadio 11 de Novembro.

- African Nations Cup results/fixtures

It all looked so different moments earlier after the Black Antelopes had raced ahead to help lift a sombre mood on day one of the competition which has been marred by an attack on the Togo team which left three people dead.

The hosts opened the scoring in the 37th minute when Manucho was upended just outside the penalty area on the left and Gilberto cleverly sought out Flavio with the ensuing free-kick instead of going for goal and his cross was powerfully met by the Al-Shabab striker to leave Mahamadou Sidibe stranded.

The Malians were rocked and it was 2-0 five minutes later - Mabina finding an unmarked Flavio with his cross from the right and the ball was again impressively headed in to hand the hosts a 2-0 half-time lead.

And Angola were 3-0 up in the 67th minute after a fine counter-attack led to Mamadou Bagayoko bringing down Gilberto in the penalty area and the Al-Ahly midfielder took the spot-kick himself - scoring with both attempts after he was asked to retake his first one due to players entering the box too early.

Seven minutes later Keita bizarrely conceded another penalty when Gilberto was for the second time hauled back in the area and This time Manucho stepped forward to send Sidibe the wrong way. But Mali were gifted a goal 11 minutes from the end when Fernandes spilt a poor corner and Keita bundled the ball in.

Kanoute halved the deficit with a powerfully glanced header with three minutes left and when the fourth official signalled four additional minutes it seemed to deflate the hosts.

Keita's angled finish was followed by Yatabare's 94th minute goal - after Fernandes could only parry into his path - to hand Stephen Keshi's side a share of the spoils.


PA

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