Angola coach Pedro Goncalves described their 3-2 Africa Cup of Nations victory against Mauritania as important since it put them on the verge of qualifying for the knockout stage.
In the fixture at the Stade de la Paix in Bouake on Saturday, the Palancas Negras were the most enterprising with their desperate search for the opener and it was Gelson Dala, who put the ahead at the half hour mark but it was short lived as Sidi Bouna Amar pulled one back in the 43rd minute to level matters before the break.
Angola continued from where they left off in the second half with Dala getting his brace in the 50th minute before Gilberto stretched the lead further in the 53rd minute to put Angola in the driving seat.
However, a relentless Mauritania continued pushing forward and were rewarded in the 58th minute with a well struck goal by Aboubakary Koita to set up a photo-finish to the clash that ended 3-2 in Angola’s favour.
“We played against a great Mauritanian team, they will still have a lot to prove, they are a fighter,” said Goncalves, adding: “It was a spectacular and very committed match. This important victory allows us to move into the lead with a favorable goal difference compared to Burkina Faso.”
He continued: “Now we will try to maintain the momentum by seeking qualification in the next round. I would like to pay tribute to my players who gave the best of themselves, while remaining patient. We have a well-defined tactical plan that we will implement for the decisive match against Burkina Faso.”
With the victory, Angola joined Burkina Faso at the top of Group D with four points. The two teams will play in the final day to decide the Group winner. With zero points, Mauritania remained last and will face Algeria in their final group match.