African champions Ivory Coast defeat Angola
Ivory Coast began life as African champions with a 2-0 home victory over Angola Thursday in an international football friendly match.
The Ivorian Elephants fielded seven of the starting line-up that won the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea last month after a penalty shootout against Ghana.
Two of the changes made by French coach Herve Renard were enforced as goalkeeper Boubacar Barry, scorer of the decisive shootout penalty, and centre-back Kolo Toure have quit international football.
But the presence of stars like midfielder Yaya Toure and striker Wilfried Bony from Manchester City and Roma winger Gervinho ensured the champions were too strong for African middleweights Angola.
A rain-soaked Stade Houphouet-Boigny pitch made good football a challenge in the first of two friendlies this week for the Ivorians, who host Equatorial Guinea at the same venue Sunday.
Turkey-based defender Ousmane Viera Diarrassouba, who did not feature in the Cup of Nations decider, opened the scoring midway through the first half.
And any hopes the Angolan Black Antelopes had of salvaging a draw disappeared minutes before time when substitute Salomon Kalou from German outfit Hertha Berlin converted a penalty.
Egypt scored twice in the final five minutes to secure a 2-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea in Cairo and give Argentine coach Hector Cuper a winning start.
Former Valencia and Inter Milan manager Cuper called up many stars from leading Cairo clubs Al-Ahly and Zamalek and one from each side contributed a goal.
Zamalek striker Bassem Morsi broke the deadlock on 86 minutes in an empty Petro Sport Stadium after authorities barred spectators because 20 fans died in clashes with police before a recent game.
Mahmoud `Trezeguet` Hassan doubled the lead in the final minute for the Pharaohs, who are hoping to become an African football power again after failing to qualify for the last three Cup of Nations.
The retirement of stars like defender Wael Gomaa and midfielders Mohamed Abou Trika and Mohamed Barakat have hit the Egyptians hard.
Disruptions to domestic football because of crowd violence and playing in empty stadiums have also contributed to the fall from power of the record seven-time African champions.
Equatorial Guinea were playing for the first time since hosting the 2015 Cup of Nations and exceeding expectations by finishing fourth.
Algeria, who began the Cup of Nations as favourites only to be eliminated by Ivory Coast in the quarter-finals, lost 1-0 in Doha to 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar.
Ali Assadalla held off several challenges to fire the first-half winner past goalkeeper Azzedine Doukha at the Abdullah ben Khalifa Stadium.
An Algerian side ranked No.1 in Africa and containing Porto midfielder Yacine Brahimi rarely impressed against a Qatari side 91 places lower on the FIFA rankings.