Fans in attendance at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran were treated to a highly entertaining evening of African football after Mali and Angola played out to a high-scoring 3-3 draw in the opening Group D match of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship on Monday. A brace in the first half by Laurindo Aurelio and second half strike by Miguel Viera for Angola was cancelled out by goals from Haidou Sinyako, Yoro Diaby and Ousmane Coulibaly for Mali, who put up a brave fight to take away a point.
When Deivi ‘Gilberto’ Vieira gave the Angolans a two-goal lead on 72 minutes, his side looked set to win the Group D opener at the Olympic Stadium in the chilly western city of Oran. But Yoro Diaby nodded a corner into the net six minutes later and substitute Coulibaly poked a loose ball past goalkeeper Hugo Marques to complete a dramatic comeback.
After only five goals in the first five mini-league matches at three other venues, the goal feast excited a small crowd on a winter evening in the 40,000 – seat stadium. Mali and Angola have both come close to winning a unique national team tournament as it is restricted to footballers playing at clubs in their country of birth.
Angola will now prepare to take on Mauritania on Friday, 20 January, while Mali will resume their campaign against Mauritania on Tuesday, 24 January. Both fixtures will take place at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran.