In a crucial Group D showdown at the Charles Konan Banny stadium in Yamoussoukro, Angola emerged victorious with a 2-0 win over Burkina Faso, securing the top spot in the group at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Palancas Negras faced off against the Stallions in a fiercely contested battle, both teams tied with 4 points each before the match. Angola had previously drawn 1-1 with Algeria and secured a thrilling 3-2 victory over Mauritania, while Burkina Faso had a 1-0 win against Mauritania and a 2-2 draw against Algeria.
Angola’s Mabululu opened the scoring with a header from Fredy’s free-kick just before halftime, putting them ahead. Despite Burkina Faso’s efforts, Zine sealed the victory with a close-range finish in stoppage time.
With this win, Angola clinched the top spot in Group D and will face a third-placed team from Group E or F in the last 16 on Saturday. Burkina Faso, finishing second in the group, will confront the Group E winners next Tuesday.
Angola, entering the tournament as the lowest-ranked side in Group D, showcased resilience by grabbing a draw against Algeria and a thrilling win over Mauritania, marking their first qualification to the knockout stages since 2010.
The match in Yamoussoukro was intense, with Angola breaking the deadlock with the first significant chance. Mabululu’s header proved decisive, bouncing past Stallions goalkeeper Herve Koffi into the net.
Despite Burkina Faso’s attempts to level the score, Angola’s defense held firm, and Zine’s late goal secured their unbeaten run in the group stage for the first time in 14 years.
The Stallions, unable to score for the first time in 17 Afcon finals outings, now await their last-16 opponents, determined after the conclusion of Groups E and F on Wednesday. Angola, on the other hand, celebrates their historic qualification and prepares for the knockout stage with confidence.