Ismael Diakite is confident Mauritania have the quality required to bounce back from their heavy defeat to Mali and progress into the Africa Cup of Nations knockout stages.
Tournament debutants Mauritania were hammered 4-1 by Mali in their opening Group E fixture, with Angola – who held Tunisia to a 1-1 draw in their first outing – next up.
Moctar Sidi El Hacen scored from a penalty in a historic moment for the minnows, but it ultimately proved a consolation and a win will be needed on Saturday if Mauritania are to keep their slim last-16 hopes alive.
Diakite is his country’s biggest goal threat and, despite the morale-depleting defeat last time out, insists his team-mates still have eyes on a last-16 place.
“We have our chances for the last two games,” Diakite told CAF’s official website.
“We’ll try to go and give everything. We have our chance and the whole squad is ready.
“Every player is valuable, we will try to make up for it in the next game. We have what we need to be able to do it. We want to win, only to win.”
While Mauritania are looking to claim their first points at the AFCON, Angola will be hopeful of capitalising on Tunisia’s draw with Mali on Friday.
A win would take Angola on to four points, level with leaders Mali who they face in their final group fixture.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) June 28, 2019
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Angola – Djalma
Angola are blessed with several attacking players who have experience in Europe. Braga forward Wilson Eduardo scored 12 Primeira Liga goals last term and is a key man.
However, it was Djalma who found the net against Tunisia and the 32-year-old former Porto striker will be heading into this contest full of confidence.
Mauritania – Ismael Diakite
Diakite helped himself to three goals during qualification and, although he did not have much to feed off in the defeat to Mali, he is undoubtedly his country’s talisman. The 27-year-old will be crucial if Corentin Martins’s side are to claim a positive result.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Mauritania and Angola have only faced each other twice, each time in AFCON qualifiers.
– With their 4-1 defeat to Mali, Mauritania became the first AFCON debutants to concede at least four goals in their first game in the competition since Namibia against Ivory Coast in February 1998.
– Angola are winless in their past six games in the AFCON, their longest drought since a decade without victory from 1996 to 2006
– Against Tunisia, Djalma became the oldest player to score for Angola in the AFCON.
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