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ANGOLA did the expected as they continued their winning ways against Namibia with an easy 3-0 victory in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) round of 16 tie in Bouake, Ivory Coast on Saturday night.

Gelson Dala helped himself to a first half brace while Mabululu added one after the break to give the Palncas Negras their eighth win over the Brave Warriors in 14 matches – six of their other meetings ended in draws.

The match, watched by a good crowd of close on 30 000 spectators, had a lively beginning as both sides attacked with purpose and threatened each other early on.

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But things changed quickly with Angola being reduced to ten men just after the quarter-hour mark when their goalkeeper Neblu got sent off for handling the ball outside his box when he blocked a goal attempt from Bethuel Muzeu.

Neblu’s replacement Dominique – who came on for outfield player Estrela – did well to save the free kick which Orlando Pirates winger Deon Hotto lobbed over the wall.

Still, you thought Nambia would make their numerical advantage count for something. But it was not to be as Angola more than held their own. The Palancas Negras actually took the lead on 38 minutes when Dala slotted home a square pass from captain Freddy who had received a sublime throughball from Gilberto.

Things got worse for Namibia two minutes later when Lubeni Haukongo was sent off for a second bookable to see parity restored in terms of the number of players on the field.

From the resultant free kick, Freddy again provided the assist as his floated ball landed flush on the head of the on-running Ndala who directed it into the top corner to essentially end the clash as a contest.

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Impressive as they were in registering their maiden AFCON finals victory with that 1-0 win over Tunisia and then lifting themselves up following the 4-0 hammering by Bafana Bafana to hold Mali goalless, you just could not see Namibia coming back from this one.
And while they made some inroads into the Angola area after the break, the fact that their captain Peter Shalulile appears to have left his coring form at the Mamelodi Sundowns headquarters in Chloorkop did not help matters. As in previous matches, the usually lethal striker just could not find the opposition net with the chances he got going to waste.

Instead it was Angola who scored in the second half following a swift counter-attack to punish a Namibia side that was piling on the pressure in search of goal.
And captain Freddy was once again involved as he delivered a fantastic 40m pass from inside his own half to find Dala on the left flank and the brace-scorer became the provider as he set up Mabululu. The Egypt-based forward is never one to wait for a second invitation at scoring a goal and he deftly curled the ball past the flailing Namibian goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapuwa of Chippa United for a goal that gave Angola their biggest win at the AFCON finals. It was also their first knockout stage victory at the biennial continental showpiece.

The result was never in doubt really given Angola’s great record against Namibia prior to the match.
Ends ends ends.

By Matshelane Mamabolo

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