Group B: Ivory Coast 1-0 Sudan
How it happened: Pre-tournament favourites Ivory Coast got off to a winning start in Group B yesterday, but were made to work every inch of the way by a Sudan side who will count themselves slightly unfortunate not to have come away with a point.
Chelsea duo Salomon Kalou and Didier Drogba combined for the game’s only goal in the 39th minute. Kalou’s cross from the left was met by Drogba six yards out, and the Elephants’ captain headed past Maghoub for his 51st international goal.
Sudan had a couple of opportunities to respond immediately, and Ivorian keeper Boubacar Barry kept his side in front when he tipped Mudather’s shot onto the bar. Barry was called on again to save from Alaadine Yousif, and had Mudather or Nazar shown a bit more composure in front of goal, he could easily have found himself picking the ball out of the net.
The Ivory Coast had chances of their own through Arsenal striker Gervinho and Max Gradel, but were content in the end with a single goal and all three points.
Key player: Didier Drogba. Goals win games.
Turning point: Barry’s flying save from Mudather. Had Sudan bounced back to equalise before half-time, they would have continued to frustrate and disrupt after the break, and may well have held on for a draw.
YouTube Credit: Botolivecom
Group B: Burkina Faso 1-2 Angola
How it happened: Former Manchester United striker Manucho was the Angolan hero as his 68th-minute strike took the Palancas Negras to the top of Group B with a 2-1 win over Burkina Faso.
Burkina’s Portuguese coach Paolo Duarte pointed the finger at two silly defensive errors which handed Angola the initiative and all three points in Malabo. After an uneventful opening half, Mateus da Costa opened the scoring for Angola in the 48th minute. The little number 9 dispossessed Bakary Kone inside the box, but still had work to do before he cut back inside to fire into Diakite’s far corner.
Auxerre playmaker Alain Traore drew Burkina Faso level with a curling free-kick that deceived Carlos Fernandes in the 57th minute, but it was Manucho and Angola who had the last laugh when the striker’s shot from the edge of the box beat Diakite, who should have done better.
Key player: Alain Traore. Duarte would have hoped for more from his playmaker who, aside from his free-kick, was never really able to get his game going. Traore carried a slight knock into the game, but he’ll need to improve ahead of Thursday’s game against the Ivory Coast.
Turning point: Djakaridja Kone’s hesitance, which allowed Manucho to steal the ball from the Burkinabe midfielder and score the winning goal.
YouTube Credit: MattMzansi
Next up: Group C kicks off with Gabon vs Niger (16:00 GMT) and Morocco v Tunisia (19:00 GMT). Both games are live on Eurosport.
Saturday’s results: Equatorial Guinea 1-0 Libya; Senegal 1-2 Zambia