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Algeria claim three points against Mali

14 January 2010 20:04

(GSM) - Algeria put in a good performance to grab their first win of the African Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory over Group A rivals Mali in Luanda. Rafik Halliche headed the only goal of the match from a Karim Ziani free-kick in the forty-third minute to give Algeria all three points.

Mali had few chances to find the net themselves with Algeria keeper Fawzi Chaouchi hardly tested throughout the match.

Algeria were looking to bounce back from a humiliating 3-0 defeat against Malawi while Mali were back in action after their fantastic four-goal comeback in their opening 4-4 draw with Angola.

Algeria gained confidence as the game progressed after a cagey first half. The goal arrived when against the way the game was moving as as Mali had enjoyed the better of possession in the first 45 minutes.

But Ziani's floated free-kick that found Halliche arriving unmarked in the middle of the box to head past Diakite was one of the few moments of real quality in the match.

Adama Tamboura forced a good save from Chaouchi early in the second half when he tried a shot from an outrageously tight angle that the keeper did well to push behind.

But Mali then failed to trouble the Algeria keeper until stoppage time when Chaouchi flapped at a cross from the left and almost dropped the ball at the feet of substitute Fredi Kanoute.

Algeria could have added to their first-half lead with two consecutive chances as Nadir Belhadj came close to connecting with a cross from the left before Abdelkader Ghezzal headed a cross from the other side just over the bar.

Mali remain on one point as the last team in the group but a win in the final game against Malawi could still be enough to see them through to the knock-out stages.

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