Sudan reaches quarters for 1st time in 42 years

Sudan reached the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations

for the first time in 42 years on Monday, beating Burkina Faso 2-1

to end an 11-game winless streak at the tournament and edge out

Angola on goal difference.

Mudather Tayeb scored both of Sudan’s goals at Estadio de Bata

to deliver the nation’s biggest football moment since it won the

African Cup on home soil in 1970. It was Sudan’s first victory in

the four tournaments it’s played at since that triumph.

Mudather broke clear to beat Burkina Faso goalkeeper Daouda

Diakite in the 33rd minute and then punished a mistake by the

keeper with 10 minutes to go to dramatically carry Sudan through,

despite a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time by substitute

Issiaka Ouedraogo which caused a nerve-fraying final few moments

for the Sudanese.

Angola needed just a point from its final match to progress but

lost 2-0 to already-qualified Ivory Coast in Group B’s other game

in Malabo, surrendering second place to Sudan and being eliminated

after conceding one more goal in the group stage.

”This generation has achieved a good victory for Sudanese

football,” coach Mohamed Abdallah said. ”We proved that we can

play against big teams with a completely local team, and the second

youngest team in the championship with the average age of 24.

”We won the championship in 1970 and now we’re back with this

generation that I hope have the confidence to continue the winning

ways.”

It came down to overall goal difference for Sudan and Angola –

who both finished on four points – after the teams drew 2-2 in

their group meeting.

Burkina Faso slipped to its third straight defeat and didn’t

help Angola’s cause by missing a string of chances, the worst of

which came from Ouedraogo in the 85th when he shot over from right

in front of the goal.

Sudan will play Group A winner Zambia, while tournament favorite

Ivory Coast meets co-host Equatorial Guinea in the last eight on

Saturday.

Sudan was forced into an early change when defender Nagmaldien

Abdullah was left dazed by a boot in the face from a Burkinabe

striker inside the first three minutes. He stayed down and was

taken off on a stretcher.

Burkina Faso continued its early pressure as Jonathan Pitroipa

made a surging run into the Sudan penalty area and laid off a pass

to Narcisse Yameogo, but his shot was deflected into the side

netting.

Sudan rallied and Mohamed Al Tahir’s free kick ricocheted off

the Burkina Faso wall and went just wide.

Mudather pounced as he rode a poor challenge from last-man

Mamadou Tall and then opened up his body to flick the ball past

Diakite and into the far right corner.

Burkina Faso was again the more dangerous team in the early

stages of the second half but kept wasting good chances.

Midfielder Pitroipa’s classy back heel sent Ouedraogo clear in

the 57th minute, but he dragged his right-footed shot off target

when one-on-one with the keeper.

In a rare break, Ahmed Khalifa flashed a shot across the goal

line as Sudan searched for the goal that would dramatically change

its fortunes at the African Cup of Nations.

But soon after news filtered through at Estadio de Bata that

Ivory Coast had scored a second in Malabo to lead Angola 2-0 and

Sudan was heading through to the quarterfinals for the first time

in nearly half a century.

Almost straight after, Burkina Faso had a goal disallowed for

offside as the Sudanese clung on to their narrow, crucial

advantage.

Forward Mudather provided breathing space in the 80th minute

with his second when he collected a long ball after Diakite

hesitated and rounded the keeper to make it 2-0.

Even Ouedraogo’s late strike, when he headed home Pitroipa’s

cross, couldn’t deny Sudan its historic moment.