Angola seek their first Nations Cup semi-final spot

Last Updated: Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 10:30

Luanda: Angola hope to ride a tide of fervent home support when they bid on Sunday to reach the African Nations Cup semi-finals for the first time.

The hosts play Ghana in Luanda (kick off 1600 GMT) in the first of four quarter-finals scheduled over the next two days.
Favourites Ivory Coast take on Algeria (1930) in Sunday`s later game in Cabinda.

A capacity 50,000 crowd is set to watch Angola try to take advantage of Ghana`s injury woes and improve on their best Nations Cup of two years ago when they reached the last eight.

Angola`s top scorer in the tournament Flavio is back from a hamstring injury while Ghana are without Michael Essien, who missed their last match and has been ruled out of the tournament by a knee injury the midfielder suffered in training.
Ghana had already lost several key players through injury before heading to the tournament.

But Angola`s Portuguese coach Manuel Jose told a pre-match news conference on Saturday that Ghana`s young side were still more experienced than his team.

Meanwhile, Didier Drogba leads the Ivory Coast in their bid to reach the semi-finals for the third time in a row.

Coach Vahid Halilhodzic said this year`s tournament was their best chance of success after they lost in the 2006 final and suffering a surprise semi-final defeat two years ago.

"This generation will be playing for high stakes in the coming week. We lose all or we win all. It`s money time," he said on Saturday.

But he also warned of the potential of Algeria, who sprang a surprise by beating African champions Egypt last November in a playoff to reach this year`s World Cup finals in South Africa.

The other Nations Cup quarter-final ties will be played on Monday when Egypt meet Cameroon in Benguela and Nigeria take on surprise package Zambia in Lubango.

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First Published: Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 10:30

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