The Palancas Negras of Angola and Mauritania’s Mourabitounes square out in a match of destiny in Suez on Saturday, with the Angolans all focused on earning qualification to the round of 16 of the Total Africa Cup of Nations Egypt 2019.
The Mourabitounes have a heavy burden of putting behind their backs their first AFCON match in history when they went down by the heaviest opening day defeat, suffering a 4-1 loss at the hands of Mali.
Ahead of the duel on Saturday, they must react fast. The two teams are familiar foes, having faced each other during the qualifying face of the competition.
They shared both sides of the coin in their qualification meetings, Angola winning 4-1 in Luanda before suffering a 1-0 defeat in the corresponding tie in Nouakchott. Heading into their meeting this time round, the stakes will be different and each have an aim of picking maximum points.
Mauritania’s engine room of Abdoul Ba, Ismael Diakite and Adama Ba plus their teammates will have to find the ideal formula against a tough Angolan opponent not only tactically, but physically as well. Also of concern to the Mauritanian technical side is how to cope up with the speed of Angola’s forwards, skipper Mateus Galiano and Djalma Campos.
What they said:
Srdan Vasiljevic, Angola coach
We will face a Mauritanian team that I know well. I admit that it will be a difficult match but we have prepared well for the occasion. In this tournament, it is necessary to take into account this period of heat which often makes the players suffer.
We will do everything to achieve a positive result because our goal is to go through this group stage.
Corentin Martins, coach of Mauritania
When you lose a match like the one against Mali, you cannot say you've had a good match.
Nevertheless, there were positive aspects and we worked on the areas we had mistakes on. Angola is a strong team on the collective level and a very aggressive opponent. We must quickly forget the Mali result and focus on Angola.
Khassa Camara, Mauritania defender
Looking back at the game against Mali, we had started well but we were destabilized after conceding the first goal. We are well prepared to face Angola which is a strong and aggressive team. I can say that we are ready at every level to play and win this game.