Ten-acious Angolans proud to hold Mexico

TEN-MAN Angola restored some pride to a flagging African World Cup campaign by holding Group D leaders Mexico to a goalless draw in Hanover.

The World Cup debutantes had to defend with desperation for much of the match, especially in the second half, but managed to keep out the Mexicans even after they were reduced to 10 men, after Andre was sent off.

Angola coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves admitted on the eve of the match his side were fighting for the honour of an entire continent with Tunisia’s 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia the only occasion an African team had avoided defeat before last night’s match.

Angola had conceded an early goal to Portugal in their opening 1-0 defeat and were given a torrid time by Mexico in the first 15 minutes, only to regain their composure for the rest of the half.

The Black Antelopes withstood some heavy pressure after the break, but were then reduced to 10 men.

Mexico coach Ricardo Lavolpe made an early tactical change in the second period with Jesus Arellano replacing Zinha, a goal scoring substitute in the 3-1 win over Iran, but ineffectual as a starter.

Mexico then spurned the best chance of the match so far when Guillermo Franco’s lob was parried by Joao Ricardo with the ball falling to Arellano whose shot was cleared off the line by Jamba.

Meanwhile, Oliveira brought on Pedro Mantorras to pep up the Angolan attack and then Rui Marques replaced Figueiredo while Mexican fans’ favourite Jose Francisco Fonseca replaced Franco.

However, Angola’s task became even worse with the sending-off of Andre for a deliberate handball that earned him his second booking.

The group leaders tried to make the extra man pay and Fonseca volleyed wide, while Bravo was wayward with a header as Angola hung on in desperation.

Then Joao Ricardo made the save of the night to deny Marquez in the dying seconds.

MEXICO: Sanchez, Salcido, Marquez, Osorio, Pineda (Morales 78), Torrado, Zinha (Arellano 52), Pardo, Mendez, Franco (Fonseca 74), Bravo.

ANGOLA: Joao Ricardo, Jamba, Kali, Delgado, Loco, Figueiredo (Rui Marques 72), Macanga, Mateus (Mantorras 68), Mendonca, Ze Kalanga (Miloy 83), Akwa.

Ref: Shamsul Maidin (Singapore).

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