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Unbeaten Angola see off Burkina Faso to top Group D at AFCON

Angola's Mabululu netted the opener for Angola
Two-time quarter-finalists Angola topped an Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) group for the first time ever, with a 2-0 victory over Burkina Faso in Yamoussoukro marking their ninth straight game without defeat across all competitions.

With just two points separating the top three teams, and these sides sharing four points apiece ahead of kick off, the door for bragging rights in Group D was wide open.

However, a dull start to the game meant neither side mustered any real chance early on, before Issa Kabore spurned a fantastic opportunity for the Burkinabe midway through the half, skying his strike over the crossbar after picking up an inch-perfect pass inside the box.

The Stallions were soon punished at the other end for their defensive lapse following a free kick delivery, at the end of which Mabululu directed an easy header into the roof of the net to draw first blood.

The Palancas Negras subsequently held onto their lead with reasonable comfort going into the break, but as a team that had lost just once across their eight previous outings, their opponents still had every reason to hope for a comeback in the second half.

Burkina Faso showcased great patience and team chemistry once the ball got rolling again, but struggled to make a difference in the final third, as Pedro Goncalves’ outfit maintained great defensive composure heading into the final 30 minutes.

Having scored in 16 consecutive games before today, the Burkinabe were expected to raise the stakes thereafter, especially after seeing the back of the net beyond the 80th minute mark in five of their last six AFCON finals matches.

Regardless of the impressive stats working against them on paper, Angola proved confident enough to register back-to-back victories on grass for the first time since November 2022, but not before Zini netted a point-blank rebound to double his side’s tally in stoppage time.

Despite the minor setback of finishing second in Group D, Burkina Faso will look to bounce back in the knockout stages, while Angola have much to look forward to after what is their most successful AFCON group stage campaign.

NAPOLI - BARCELONA