LUANDA (AFP) - Algeria gave their hopes of qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations' quarter-finals a significant shot in the arm here Thursday with a 1-0 win over Mali.
It moved the World Cup qualifiers on to three points in Group A, level with Malawi who play Angola later. The hosts and Mali are on one apiece.
Algeria coach Rabah Saadane made two switches from the team routed 3-0 by Malawi on Monday, with Rafik Saifi and Samir Zaoui making way for Yassine Bezzaz and Abdelkadar Laifaoui.
Saadane found himself one man down before kickoff after Kaled Lemmouchia walked out on Thursday morning, reportedly upset at not making the starting XI.
Mali's Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi wielded the axe for this second run out, dropping no fewer than six of the side that drew 4-4 with Angola last Sunday, including 2007 African Footballer of the year Frederic Kanoute.
The Sevilla striker was joined on the bench by goalkeeper Mahamadou Sidibe, Souleymane Diamoutene, Bakaye Traore, El Hadj Traore and Mamadou Bagayoko.
Among those gaining a call up were back to full fitness Juventus star Mohamed Sissoko, and his fellow midfielder Seydou Keita.
The Barcelona player earned his place after coming off the bench against Angola to score twice.
A lively enough opening from two sides desperate to get three points on the board to keep their quarter-final dreams intact saw Algeria's Karim Ziani curl in from the left in the fifth minute with Soumaila Diakite tipping the ball over the woodwork.
That early promise proved a false dawn as the game turned scrappy for a lengthy period.
Algeria, displaying a little more bite than they had done against Malawi, forced Diakite into action approaching the half hour when Karim Matmour fed Ziani whose effort from outside the box was parried to safety.
The highlight, or rather lowlight, of the game for Mali came when Bakary Soumare was booked for an ill judged tackle on Yassine Bezzaz, meaning the French-based back will miss the next match.
Mali paid dearly for that as Ziani floated in the ensuing freekick from 30 metres out for defender Rafik Halliche to head past Diakite two minutes before the break.
Mali almost drew back level in the 51st minute when Algeria keeper Faouzi Chaouchi did well to stop N'diaye's tightly angled shot from the left of the box but aside from a late burst of pressure Algeria held on comfortably.
Angola take on Malawi later in Luanda with Group A's final batch of matches next Tuesday pitting Mali against Malawi in Cabinda and Algeria against the hosts back here at the 11 November stadium.
|Coach: S. Keshi|
for M. Yatabaré 59'
for T. N'Diaye 61'
for M. Sissoko 66'
|It was like ice hockey - Monaco vice-president stunned by Champions League clash|
|Proud Griezmann eyes more Atletico history|
|Toure marvels at Caballero heroics in Manchester City-Monaco thriller|
|Buffon hopes to play well against Casillas|
|Schmidt: It is easy to see how Atletico Madrid have reached two finals in three years|
|Falcao penalty miss was key – Jardim|
|Guardiola: If one team can score a thousand, million goals it is Monaco|
|Griezmann hails ´brilliant´ Gameiro as Atletico see off Leverkusen|
|Simeone all smiles after Atletico dismantle Leverkusen|
|Spot-kick revision pays off for Caballero|
|Championship Review: Huddersfield boost top-two hopes, Wednesday beaten|
|Toprak laments bad result as Leverkusen lose at home to Atletico|
|Aguero grapples for glory as strikers shine in Manchester City v Monaco|
|Bayer Leverkusen 2 Atletico Madrid 4: Simeone´s side in control|
|Manchester City 5 Monaco 3: Guardiola´s side prevail in all-time classic|
|AFC Champions League Review: Al Rayyan and Al Ahli off to winning starts|
|Ranieri: Sevilla game can be a turning point for Leicester|
|Allegri confirms Bonucci absence after row|
|Nuno confident Porto can beat Juventus|
|Matthaus encourages Gotze to stay at Dortmund|
|Martial: I love Manchester United and I want to stay|
|I would never force out Manchester United legend Rooney - Mourinho|
|Anderlecht insist Tielemans not leaving on the cheap|
|Leicester can´t afford to live in the past, warns Sampaoli|
|Porto´s home comforts, shot-shy Leicester & Sevilla meet - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Puyol backs Barcelona for Champions League miracle|
|Sutton´s pie-munching keeper Shaw resigns|
|Coyle leaves struggling Blackburn|
|Sampaoli noncommittal on Sevilla future despite contract offer|
|Higuain backs Dybala to become ´among the best in the world´|
|Ancelotti escapes punishment for middle finger|
|Pie-eating Sutton goalkeeper´s antics under investigation|
|AFC Champions League Review: 2014 winners Wanderers thrashed, Hulk inspires 10 men|
|Zidane reveals Ronaldo´s favourite position|
|Lippi backs Allegri for Juve stay|
|Zidane: Isco knows I love him|
|Rooney returns to United training|
|Higuain confident Juventus can win Champions League|
|Giggs the dream pro-am partner for Manchester United fanatic McIlroy|
|Kane hopes Spurs can get used to Wembley|
|Hazard: I gave everything to come back|
|Like Cantona, Ibrahimovic embraces United pressure - Giggs|
|Wenger: Perez deserves more chances|
|Wenger denies using Sanchez was risky|
|Tite: I wish Messi was born in Brazil|
|Jardim praises ´great striker´ Falcao|
|Reported Barcelona target Sampaoli offered Sevilla extension|
|´Angry´ Messi didn´t celebrate because of criticism – Bauza|
|´He is going to have to do it himself´ – Guardiola backs Aguero|
|Toure backs Sterling and Sane for the top|
|Pique: Barcelona were in deep s*** when Luis Enrique arrived|
|Thoughts of Bayern mauling stopped Wenger from enjoying Arsenal FA Cup win|
|Sutton United 0 Arsenal 2: Perez and Walcott break minnows´ stern resolve|
|Walcott brings up 100 goals for Arsenal|
|Simeone will make late Oblak call for Leverkusen clash|
|AFC Champions League Review: In-form El Arabi gives Lekhwiya dream start, Diop saves Al Ahli|
|Fabinho disagrees with Guardiola over favourites tag|
|Guardiola hails Bielsa as best in the world|
|Jardim insists Monaco will not change style for Manchester City clash|
|Clattenburg´s Premier League career not over yet|
|Dortmund could renew Tuchel deal|
|Chicharito return to form boosts Schmidt´s Leverkusen for Atletico test|
|Iniesta sees Verratti as his successor - Matuidi|
|Ramos did not make history at Sevilla like me - Alves questions Real Madrid captain|
|Vertonghen feels Tottenham deserve silverware|
|Agent denies Lucas Perez exit claims|
|Barcelona forward Neymar to stand trial after losing appeal|
|City history can´t compare to United, Liverpool – De Bruyne wants to make Champions League impressio|
|Europa League the priority for United´s Mata as EFL Cup final looms|
|Winning the FA Cup ´may not save Wenger´|
|Falcao perfect for ´killers´ Monaco - Guardiola wary of Champions League threat to Manchester City|
|Ancelotti asked to explain middle finger gesture|
|Ribery closing in on Bayern Munich return|
|Nani eager for improving Valencia to tackle Real Madrid|
|Rashford eyes Chelsea revenge after huge FA Cup draw|
|Glorious Griezmann and Aguero´s knockout drought - Champions League in Opta numbers|
|Otamendi´s agent talks up Real Madrid switch|
|He has to get used to it – Montella reacts to Bacca boos|
|Low hopes to discover Germany´s Luis Suarez|
|Mourinho unsure if Rooney will recover for EFL Cup final|
|Rami rejects talk of Marseille switch|
|Tarnat tips Manchester City´s Sane to become Germany star|
|I don´t see why he should quit - Begovic tips Terry to continue|
|PSG ´weakened´ without Ibrahimovic, claims Monaco´s Bakayoko|
|Low believes in ´locksmith´ Gotze|
|No pain, no gain for Cristiano Ronaldo|
|Barcelona have no idea how to treat players - Dani Alves slams Camp Nou board|
|Low: Germany´s youngsters must be good enough to beat Messi and Ronaldo|
|Mandorlini replaces Juric at Genoa|
|Liverpool could face ´new´ Leicester – Klopp|
|Corchia excited by Bielsa arrival but Lille future remains uncertain|
|Wenger: I threw up after first loss as coach|
|Conte wants fairytale finish for Terry|
|Iniesta: Barcelona haven´t lost faith in Luis Enrique|
|Mourinho knew Ibrahimovic would be ´massive´ for United|
|Ter Stegen doesn´t understand Barcelona fans whistling|
|´He is doing a fantastic job´ – Bartomeu backs Luis Enrique|
|Guardiola slams ´unacceptable´ Wenger treatment|
|Spalletti: Roma goal machine Dzeko now believes he´s world class|
|Emery refuses to blame referee after PSG are held|
|Montella dedicates AC Milan win to Berlusconi|
|The players don´t need whistles – Luis Enrique hits out at fans|