|Algeria’s Desert Foxes beat Mali 1-0 on Thursday at the November 11 Stadium in Luanda to claim their first win at the Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Angola 2010.
Defender Rafik Halliche scored the only goal of the match to hand the South Africa 2010 World Cup finalists their maiden victory in Group A which includes hosts Angola and Malawi.
After a shocking 0-3 loss to Malawi in their opening match on Monday, the Algerians organized themselves to earn a well deserved victory at the expense of the Eagles, whose magic during the opener against the host nation few days ago eluded them.
Mali striker Frederic Kanoute started from the bench whilst the midfield pair of Seydou Keita and Mahamadou Sissoko largely failed to click giving the Algerians the leeway in the middle.
German-based midfielder Karim Ziani was the difference as together with Yebda Hassan, they overpowered their opponents and pressurizing the Malian defence.
On the fifth minute mark, Ziani made clear his intent with a curler that kissed the crossbar but no problem for Malian goalkeeper Soumbeila Diakite, hero of the Stade Malien team in their Orange Confederation Cup conquest.
With both teams having a fair share of the exchanges, it was the Algerians who made the best of the opportunity that came their way. Three minutes to half time, Halliche headed home the opener from Ziani’s well-taken free-kick.
The second half was a balanced affair even though the performance from both sides was not enough to alter the scoreline. Modibo Maiga came close to leveling up for the Eagles on 51 minutes but Algerian goalie Faouzi Chaouchi parried away his tricky goalbound shot to corner. With Keita well placed in the penalty area, Maiga opted for glory but Chaouchi was up to task.
Six minutes on, Yebda’s screamer missed narrowly with Diakite left sprawling, and the rest of the action was rested in the midfield.
Algeria midfielder Ziani was named the Orange Most Valuable Player of the match.