20 January 2013

Angola/Morocco: Nil-Nil Draws Turn Group A Into Two-Game Knockout

Photo: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images-Stanbic
Angola, in red in action in a previous Afcon tournament.

Both coaches admitted their teams had performed below par as Angola and Morocco played out a 0-0 draw on Saturday, but they also expressed relief at having come through the first game of their Group A campaign unscathed.

Morocco dominated the opening period of their 2013 Africa Cup of Nations opener, before Angola came back strongly in the second, missing a host of chances late on.

The north Africans will feel most aggrieved with their performance: this is a tournament where they have often arrived as potential winners, but under-performed and come away disappointed.

It looked as though they were bang on form, especially in the opening 20 minutes, but faded badly as the game wore on. Coach Rachid Taoussi believes that now early-tournament nerves are out of the way, they will get better in their next outing against Cape Verde on Wednesday.

"It's a positive result for us, and we'll be trying to get a better one in our second outing and be sharper in front of goal," Taoussi said. "We virtually monopolised the first half. We created lots of chances but lacked success."

Taoussi was also quick to praise the Angolan side, who he said caused his team problems.

"We were not up against a phantom side – they have got strong strikers and woke up in the second half. It's a positive result for us, and we'll be trying to get a better one in our second outing and be sharper in front of goal."

Angola coach Gustavo Ferrin was pleased with the effort of his team, if a little frustrated by their cutting edge in front of goal. The pool has essentially been turned into a two-game knockout by the fact that both opening matches ended 0-0 and the Uruguyan remains hopeful.

"Before the tournament we were the [second] weakest team in the group according to FIFA's rankings. Now we've all come away with 0-0 draws and we keep the same chances as before.

"We had several chances for a goal, but unfortunately we could not take them. That is sport. We will continue to fight so that we can improve in our the next games."

Angola now meet hosts South Africa on Wednesday, where the loser, if there is to be one, will face a tough time making the quarter-finals. It is in essence a one-off knockout fixture.

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