CAN ’10 Opener: Angola-Mali
Yessss, it’s happening! The tournament is set to get underway with host nation Angola squaring off against Mali. The Angolan President is out there shaking everyone’s hands…and here are some hopefully accurate squads!
Angola: Fernandes, Mabina, Kali, Rui Marques, Stelvio, Xara, Dede, Zuela, Gilberto, Flavio, Manucho.
Mali: Sidibe, Diamountene, Berthe, Tamboura, Soumare, Diarra, Traore, Traore, Bagayoko, Maiga, Kanoute.
Talking points from these starting lineups? Angola have holding midfield Stelvio as well as striker Flavio back from injury, with Flavio partnering Manucho in attack. Barcelona’s Seydou Keita misses out on Mali’s starting lineup, still nursing a thigh injury incurred at the possibly-frivolous FIFA World Club Cup. Another of their European starlets, Mohamed Sissoko of Juventus, starts on the bench.
The Angolan national anthem is rousing indeed…gonna sit back and enjoy the game here, but updates at halftime!!!
Dang…it’s currently Angola 2-0 Mali!!! Angola had 56% of possession, 4 shots on target, and more importantly 2 headed goals via Flávio. The first goal of the ’10 CAN came from a set-piece after Manucho was mindlessly body-bumped over at the edge of the box and the freekick found Flávio waiting at the far post for an open header. His 2nd was another thumping header—header’s are nearly always thumping, but THIS ONE, boom. Mali’s moments of note? Maiga squandering a 2-on-1 chance at the edge of the box with a failed backheel to Kanouté, then being replaced by Seydou Keita only 35′-or-so in. The possibly-not-fully-tested grass does indeed have that spongy carpet look to it, and seems to be cutting up here and there. It also seemed like the injury of Dede was caused by a weird, marshy stickiness to the pitch?
My English commentator imagines “There will be a lot of cringing European coaches every time a hard tackle goes in”—interesting! Hopefully all these Africans realize they are important “investments” and just disinterestedly play at about 60% while representing their country in international soccer.
Other telecaster wisdom dropped: “Angolans sporting the skin tight shirts this years…those made popular by the Cameroonians” …or did the Italians do it first?
PORTUGAL CORRESPONDENT Audrey SEZ:
It appears the locals were just as taken with the Bantu-inspired opening ceremony as our live-blogger Steev: Angolan press agencies reporting the streets of Luanda are entirely deserted!
And the prediction of Victor André Maluga, leader of a group of Luandan taxi drivers who were unable to get tickets to the Angola-Mali opening match? “A tie or a victory (1-0) in favor of the Antelopes.”
Anyway, the hosts lead 2-0! The 11 de Novembro is truly rocking for the first time in it’s short, shiny life—the first kuduro beats of the tourney sound over the PA!
ANGOLA 4 (Flavio 36, 42; Gilberto 67; Manucho 72)
MALI 4 (Keita 79, 90+3; Kanoute 88; Yatabare 90+4)
Wowwww/what?! Angola, despite leading 4-0 with less than 15 minutes remaining, fall the fuck off and let Mali score four goals…and 4-4?! Off-the-bench reinforcements Seydou Keita and Mustaphe Yatabare were responsible for 3 of the comeback goals. Miraculous and absurd stuff as the Angolans just “SWITCHED OFF” as they say—whadda opener.