- Angola close in on last 16
- Dala inspires win over Mauritania
- Salah forced off in draw with Ghana
A Gelson Dala brace put Angola within touching distance of the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations. Meanwhile Egypt have been dealt a blow, with star forward Mohamed Salah suffering a hamstring injury.
Dala hits two as Angola hold off Mauritania
Gelson Dala played a pivotal role in Angola’s triumph over Mauritania in the Africa Cup of Nations, scoring twice to bring his team closer to securing a spot in the last 16. Dala demonstrated quick reactions, capitalising on a rebound from a corner to give Angola the lead, firing a shot against the turf and into the net.
Mauritania’s Sidi Amar responded with a dazzling run and finish just two minutes before halftime, levelling the score for the Lions of Chinguetti. However, Angola regained control as Dala and Gilberto both found the back of the net, establishing a 3-1 lead. Despite Aboubakary Koita’s spectacular consolation goal for Mauritania, the victory means that Angola are virtually assured of advancing with just a point needed in their final group-stage match against Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso, who also have four points, drew 2-2 with Algeria in their earlier match on Saturday. The leaders are set to face each other in a crucial showdown on Tuesday at 20:00 GMT to determine their final standings in the group. Even if Angola loses, they could still progress to the last 16 if Burkina Faso fails to beat Mauritania in their decisive encounter. The upcoming match promises to be a decisive moment for both teams in the Africa Cup of Nations.
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Salah set to miss Cape Verde clash
Liverpool forward Salah will be sidelined for Egypt’s pivotal Africa Cup of Nations Group B clash against Cape Verde on Monday due to a hamstring injury. The 31-year-old, who also won’t be available for a potential last-16 match if Egypt qualifies, sustained the injury during the 2-2 draw with Ghana, forcing him to leave the pitch before halftime.
The Egyptian Football Association confirmed Salah’s hamstring injury through test results, stating that he will miss the next two matches at the Afcon. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expressed concerns about the severity of the injury, noting that Salah rarely misses games.
Salah’s absence is a significant blow to Egypt, especially as they need a victory against already-qualified Cape Verde to secure progression in the tournament. Egypt has had a slow start to the Africa Cup of Nations campaign, collecting two points from two matches.
Salah’s impact has been crucial for Egypt, as evidenced by his last-minute penalty against Mozambique to secure a 2-2 draw and avoid an opening defeat. The team will have to navigate the upcoming matches without their star player, adding an extra challenge to their pursuit of the Cup.
Having won seven titles, the last in 2010, Egypt aims to overcome this setback and advance in the tournament. Salah, who is on the verge of reaching 100 caps for his country, will only have an opportunity to feature again if Egypt qualifies for the quarter-finals scheduled for February 2 or 3. Fans and punters will be looking at how Egypt cope without Salah.
Punters need to look at Angola’s performances and assess whether they feel they can make an impact in the last 16 and beyond. Currently most bookies and pundits are tipping Angola to exit the tournament in the the last 16 or in the quarter-finals. They are still viewed as massive outsiders for the tournament, with bet365 having them priced at 150/1 at the time of writing.
Bettors looking to back Egypt will need to assess how much Salah’s absence will affect their chances. In their crucial match against Cape Verde and in any potential knock out matches. At the time of writing, bet365 have them priced at 12/1 to win the tournament. Rated as more likely that Egypt by the bookie are Senegal, 10/3, Morocco, 7/2, hosts Ivory Coast, 7/1 and Nigeria and Algeria, both 9/1.Some bettors, who have faith in Egypt reaching the quarter finals without their star man may see this as a positive and want to back Egypt, taking the view that a fresh Salah may have a greater impact on the business end of the tournament.
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