The penultimate round of group stage matches in the ongoing African Nations Championship took place yesterday as Madagascar and Sudan did battle in Group C to determine which side makes it to the quarterfinals.
What promised to be a thrilling game of football between the two sides ended in what can best be described as a ‘thrashing’ as Madagascar showed their lethality in front of goal to dispatch their Sudanese opponents.
It was a case of ‘hit-and-run’ tactics prevailing at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui with Madagascar striking early in the game to effectively put the game to bed.
Goals from Tokinantenaina Tsiry Olivier Randriatsiferana in the 13th minute, Solomampionona Razafindranaivo in the 30th minute, and Lalaina Cliver Rafanomezantsoa in the 33rd minutes gave the Malagasy a comfortable 3-0 victory against Sudan.
While Sudan was not as inept as the score line might lead one to assume, their inability to convert the plethora of chances created into goal cost them dearly.
Madagascar’s discipline and resilience proved too much for the Sudanese who were unable to find an effective path through their defense. The few times that the Sudanese were able to make it through the Malagasy defense to make attempts at scoring, Zakanirina Rakotoasimbola denied them any goals with excellent saves.
It was an excellent game by Madagascar as they took their chances and stayed strong against the Sudanese assault.
The Sudanese will be left ruing their profligacy in front of goal which effectively cost them their qualification chance. Perhaps, some lessons on ‘how to put the ball inside the opposition goal’ will help Sudan do better next time.
The loss against Madagascar led to the elimination of Sudan from the tournament, an outcome that is sure to leave the Sudanese displeased.
Madagascar however will be delighted as the win against Sudan means that they top Group C ahead of Ghana, thus setting up a quarterfinal date with Mozambique on Saturday, 28th January at the Stade Mohamed-Hamlaoui.
The Black Galaxies of Ghana will have to wait till the final round of group stage games are played today to know their quarterfinal opponents.