Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 20th 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, January 20, 2015
MONGOMO---Tournament favorite Algeria
avoided an unpleasant surprise at the
African Cup of Nations yesterday. Four-
time champion Ghana did not.
Group C kicked off in Mongomo with
two comebacks as Algeria went behind and
then saw South Africa miss a penalty before
rallying for a 3-1 win to open its campaign.
While Algeria took time to get going in
far-eastern Equatorial Guinea, Ghana lost
its way after leading early against Senegal.
The Senegalese ensured one of the tour-
nament s toughest groups was full of intrigue
by clinching a 2-1 win over the Black Stars
with substitute Moussa Sow s stoppage-
Algeria---by far Africa s best team at last
year s World Cup---only lived up to its pre-
tournament hype in the final 20 minutes
of its African Cup opener.
Thuso Phala finished a clever South
African move for the surprise lead at Mon-
But Tokelo Rantie missed a penalty three
minute later, giving Algeria the impetus it
needed to come back.
The Algerians forced an own goal by Thu-
lani Hlatshwayo soon after and, confidence
restored, fired in two more through Faouzi
Ghoulam and Islam Slimani to end up
"We had a bad 10 minutes," Algeria coach
Christian Gourcuff said.
In fact, Algeria had a pretty poor first 45
as South Africa created the far-better
And if Rantie s penalty was inches lower
at the start of the second, it would have
been a tough task for the Algerians.
While Algeria moved top of Group C,
Ghana found itself under early pressure in
its search for a long-awaited title after Sene-
gal muscled its way to a late victory in the
first match in Mongomo.
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan sat out
while he recovers from a mild bout of malar-
ia, and watched as a spectator in the dugout
when Andre Ayew stroked home a penalty
in the 14th minute to give the Ghanaians
reward for a bright start.
Things changed drastically in the second
Senegal found its momentum and was
level when Mame Biram Diouf headed
against the post and reacted quickest to
score from the rebound.
Like Algeria, Senegal found life in the
closing stages but left it right to the very
end to secure its crucial opening victory,
when Sow hit home with what was effec-
tively the last kick of the match.
"It s good to have three points but nothing
is done yet," Senegal coach Alain Giresse
Drogba, Eto'o notable for their absence
as Group D opens
Premier League strikers and tournament
stalwarts Didier Drogba and Samuel Eto o
will be notable for their absence when the
final group at the African Cup kicks off
today in Malabo.
First up at the Malabo Stadium is Guinea
against the Ivory Coast, sans Drogba. The
second Group D match will pit Mali against
Cameroon, which is playing without Eto o.
Chelsea s Drogba and Eto o, who plays
for Everton, are missing from the continental
tournament for the first time in a decade,
but both Ivory Coast and Cameroon remain
among the favourites both to advance from
the group and for the tournament overall.
Eto o is a two-time African Cup cham-
pion, while Drogba has twice lost in the
Taking over as the leader of Ivory Coast
this time is Yaya Toure, who just matched
Eto o by winning a fourth African player of
the year award.
The last time Ivory Coast was in the final,
in 2012, the team lost to Zambia. The coach
of Zambia at that time, Herve Renard, is
now in charge of the Ivorians.
"Before I retire I really want to win some-
thing with my country," Toure said recently.
"I hope that Herve Renard will take us as
far as possible."
Toure hasn t taken part in a full practice
with the national team since arriving in
Equatorial Guinea. But it s unclear if he is
injured or just resting after playing for Man-
chester City during the congested holiday
Ivory Coast s other important players will
be veterans Kolo Toure, Gervinho and
Salomon Kalou, but it may be Wilfried Bony
who is most likely to lead the way if the
team gets on a winning run.
For Cameroon, the key to success may
come from one of the players who replaced
Eto o up front. FC Porto striker Vincent
Aboubakar is tall and quick, and has the
natural qualities that make him very difficult
for defenders to stop.
Mali would also be considered one of the
favorites for the title if not drawn in such
a tough group.
The Malians lost in the semifinals at the
last two African Cups, and veteran midfielder
Seydou Keita will be the one looking to
inspire the rest of the team to get back there
again this time. (AP)
Algeria survives scare at
African Cup, Ghana doesn't
Champagne struggles for nominations
in race for Fifa top job
PARIS---Fifa presidential contender Jerome
Champagne is struggling to get the support
required to challenge Sepp Blatter.
With the deadline to present the bids only 10
days away, the Frenchman has sent an open letter
to the presidents of Fifa s member associations
asking for their backing.
Under Fifa s rules, Champagne must convince
five of the 209 national associations to endorse his
Champagne, who was Fifa s international relations
director until leaving in January 2010, said in a
statement "the feeling exists that the final result
of the election is set and that it would be risky to
sign them. There is also the fear of being singled
out or punished."
Champagne also described his rivals for football s
top job---Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein and former
France player David Ginola, as "individuals without
a programme." (AP)
Blanc doubts future but says
players back him
PARIS---Even though Paris Saint-Germain coach
Laurent Blanc has doubts over his future at the
club, he maintains he still has the backing of the
players despite a string of disappointing perform-
ances that have put him under pressure.
PSG is aiming for a third straight French title
but, despite having a squad packed with expensive
stars, has slipped down to third place and is four
points behind league leader Lyon and its crop of
homegrown players after 21 league matches.
Sunday s 4-2 win against lowly Evian took some
pressure off, but it was another scrappy perform-
In an interview with television channel BeIN
SPORTS on Sunday night, Blanc said "I don t know
if I ll be PSG coach at the end of the season" and
maintained "the players are behind me." (AP)
Spanish league's bottom club
Granada picks coach Abel Resino
MADRID---Granada has appointed Abel Resino
as coach until the end of the season in a bid to
stay in the top division of the Spanish league, the
club said in a statement yesterday.
Granada is bottom of La Liga and hasn t won in
the league in 15 straight games, a run that stretches
back to September 20.
Resino, 54, who replaces Joaquin Caparros, trained
the Andalucian club previously in the 2011/2012
season when he helped save it from relegation.
He has also coached Atletico Madrid, Celta Vigo,
Levante and Valladolid, whom he helped reach the
The club said the former Spain goalkeeper would
train with the squad today. (AP)
Barcelona's Brazilian defender
Douglas injured, out 4 weeks
BARCELONA---Barcelona says Brazilian right-
back Douglas will be sidelined for up to a month
after he tore a muscle in his left leg in training
The 24-year-old was not selected for Sunday s
league match at Deportivo La Coruna that Barcelona
Douglas has made one start in four appearances
this season, playing 73 minutes in one La Liga game
and also taking part in three Copa del Rey matches.
the ball, during
the African Cup
Group C football
South Africa in
ALgeria won 3-
1. AP PHOTO
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