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Elephants Held As Malawi Cruise Past Algeria

AFCON tournament favourites Ivory Coast were held to a barren draw last night in Cabinda by a Burkina Faso side that were determined to make the most out of their opening Group B encounter. Burkina Faso, the underdogs in this match, were lucky not to concede a goal as Ivory Coast had more than a handful of  chances to score.

Olympique Marseille’s Bakary Kone had the best opportunity for the Elephants in the 67th minute to win the game after Tiote run through Burkina Faso’s defense to pull back his cross  for Kone who put it wide. That was to be his last touch as Vahid Halilhodzic immediately replaced him with Kieta. There was still no real intentions made by the Ivorians and sensing danger, Halilhodzic made two more quick substitutions to bring on Arouna Dindane and Salomon Kalou.

These introductions spurred some life into the team and it provided Drogba with the opportunity to link up with his strike partner Kalou and create some chances. Kalou’s best chance of the match came towards the end of the match when Drogba cut through Burkina Faso’s defense to provide Kalou with a ball that should have ended in the back of the net however, he kicked the ball high and wide. That was to be the last real opportunity for Elephants as Burkina Faso held out for a draw.

They that in football you should expect the unexpected but when i got word of Malawi’s 3-0 demolition of finalists Algeria, i was stunned beyond words. I could not believe that the nation that would be representing the entire continent at the finals could suffer such an embarrassing defeat to a team that is barely recognized in Africa.

After eliminating Egypt in their play-offs for the final ticket to South Africa, i expected the Desert Foxes to give a repeat performance of their epic 1-0 win over the Pharaohs in Khartoum. Algeria, Angola and Mali now have all to work for in Group A as Malawi now lead the group.

Today’s fixtures will see Egypt and Nigeria battle it out for Group C Supremacy while Mozambique face off with Benin.