Africans look to cut out mistakes

Algeria, in green, will aim to bounce back from Monday's shock defeat to Malawi by beating Mali tonight. (AFP)

For Mali and Algeria, today's second Group A match gives them a chance to prove their true worth after indifferent starts to their Africa Cup of Nations campaigns.

In the case of Mali, a miraculous fightback to grab a point against Angola having trailed by four goals with 15 minutes left masked a poor first-half display that intensely frustrated Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi.

He says his side were mentally shaken by the way they let Angola race into what appeared an unassailable lead, before the hosts' crumbled.

"The spirit was low after Angola," said Keshi. "The players are aware of the mistakes they made on Sunday, but it was a hard game played in a difficult atmosphere given the frantic support for the home side."

Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita, who came off the bench to score a brace, insisted his team-mates had the mental strength to recover.

"Algeria may be in the World Cup, but they're in a tricky situation," he said. "Our position is more favourable. The pressure is greater for them because if they drop points against us qualification for the next round is going to be tough."

Meanwhile, in the Algeria camp, Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra said sorry to the nation's fans for Monday's 3-0 shock defeat to minnows Malawi.

"We apologise to the Algerian people," he said. "We weren't at the level expected of us for this match."

Siena striker Abdelkader Ghezzal added: "We played badly and deserved to lose. We had some good chances, but were not good enough to capitalise on them.

"This defeat will do us well as we need to rediscover the spirit that allowed us to qualify for the World Cup."

 

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