Angola gain confidence from Algeria draw

Angola coach Pedro Gonçalves was pleased with his side’s fighting spirit after they rallied in the second half to secure a 1-1 draw with 2019 winners Algeria in their Africa Cup of Nations Group D clash on Monday.

Baghdad Bounedjah put Algeria ahead after 18 minutes, but Angola stayed in the contest and were rewarded with a penalty by Mabululu to share the spoils.

“We started slowly but we managed to find some spaces and came back into the game in the second half which the team did better,” Gonçalves said.

“The work isn’t done. The team showed that mentally they are up there so we will continue to build on this in our next matches.”

Gonçalves spoke ahead of the match about making history with Angola, which is to see them go past the quarterfinals.

“Let’s do what we haven’t done before, this is our main focus. We know if we win twice, we qualify,” he said. “We will see where our performance and capacity will take us to but I believe we can qualify from the group and try to win the knockout phase. If you do that then you have the ability to go to the final. Let’s see.”

Angola are next in action against Mauritania on Saturday.

It was a low-key start for north African powerhouse Algeria, whose coach Djamel Belmadi rued his side’s inability to see out the game.

“This is not the result we expected. We were expecting to have three points,” he said. “We tried our best and didn’t want to lose the game so we did what we can do to get a point which was necessary.

“We were supposed to do better in the second half but we can also talk about the moments we did well. We have identified our weakness as we didn’t defend very well for us to concede the penalty which was a big mistake.

“We are in a transitional period, so we try for this team to work together and we have also learnt lessons from this game for our remaining games.

“We made some technical mistakes but it’s not professional to start a tournament with the mindset of a loser so we will prepare for the match against Burkina Faso (on Saturday) to put things right.”