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AFCON 2023: Dala magic sparks Angola past Namibia to the quarterfinals

An early red card proved to be no problem on Saturday for the Palancas Negras of Angola who advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations with an impressive 3-0 victory over Namibia at the Stade de la Paix in Bouaké. Gelson Dala scored two goals and assisted striker Mabululu for the third for Angola who continue to display excellent form on attack and defense. The Palancas Negras await the winner between Nigeria and Cameroon for their next match on February 2.

Both teams displayed plenty of energy in a bright start to the match before the first notable incident in the 17th minute. Namibia striker Peter Shalulile won the ball off Angola defender Kialonda Gaspar and his shot attempt was blocked by the hand Palancas goalkeeper Neblú but the shot stopper was outside of his penalty area, an offense that was punished with a red card. Backup keeper Antonio Dominique came in and did well to dive and parry away Deon Hotto’s ensuing free kick attempt on goal.

Angola showed no ill effects from the red card and snatched the lead in the 38th minute through an attack down the right flank. Gilberto found the run of Fredy and the captain crossed low to a wide open Dala who was left with an easy finish. Moments later the teams became numerically even when Namibia defender Lubeni Haukongo received a second yellow card after tripping up Mabululu as the striker attempted to chase down a ball played behind the Namibian defense.

The lead was doubled for Angola immediately after Haukongo’s expulsion when Fredy’s free kick service found Dala for a powerful header past Brave Warriors goalkeeper Lloyd Kazapua. Namibia showed some signs of life after the halftime break but Angola put the match beyond doubt in the 66th minute. A Namibian opportunity resulted in a counter attack with Fredy’s pass finding Dala on the left wing, who played Mabululu in for a beautiful curled finish past Kazapua and in off the post.

Highlights of the first Round of 16 match will be posted below when available.

Match Highlights

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