Dala at the double as Angola end AFCON quarter-final drought

Abidjan, (CIV): A brace from striker Jacinto Dala helped Angola reach the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals for the first time in 14 years with an emphatic 3-0 victory over Namibia on Saturday.

Playing in front of a vociferous crowd in Bouake, Palancas Negras controlled the round of 16 tie from the outset against the tournament underdogs.

The Brave Warriors were handed a major advantage when Angola goalkeeper Neblu was sent off for handling outside his area in just the 14th minute.

The tone was set by Bethuel Muzeu, crafting the first clear-cut chance. Exploiting a loose pass near Angola’s 18-yard box, Muzeu executed a lob, initiating a one-on-one with goalkeeper Neblu.

Neblu’s attempt to save, extending beyond the 18-yard box, resulted in his expulsion from the game.

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Despite being down to 10 men, Angola continued to dictate play and opened the scoring through Gelson Dala following good work from Gilberto and Fredy.

Namibia’s task was made even more difficult shortly after when defender Lubeni Haukongo received a second booking for a foul on Mabululu.

Angola pounced on the resulting free-kick as Jacinto Dala powered home a header to double the lead before the break.

With Namibia chasing the game in the second half, gaps started to appear and Jacinto Dala turned provider to set up substitute Mabululu for Angola’s third.

Mabululu maintained his composure to slot home from the edge of the box and cap off an excellent attacking performance from the Palancas Negras.

The result means Angola have reached the last eight of the tournament for the first time since their run to the semi-finals in 2008.

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They will face the winner of Nigeria vs Cameroon in the next round as they look to emulate the achievements of their golden generation 15 years ago.

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