Algeria deny draw was arranged

LUANDA - Algeria coach Rabah Saadane angrily denied media suggestions that Monday's 0-0 draw with hosts Angola was contrived to ensure both countries qualified for the African Nations Cup quarter-finals.

The result meant Angola finished top of Group A on five points and Algeria also went through in second place.

Mali, who beat Malawi 3-1 in Cabinda on Monday, were eliminated despite ending on the same points (four) as Algeria and with a better goal difference.

World Cup-bound Algeria qualified by virtue of their 1-0 win over Mali in Luanda last week.

"There was no agreement with Angola," Saadane told a news conference in Luanda. "We would not accept any arranged match.

"Algeria suffered this indignity at the World Cup in 1982 when Germany and Austria played an arranged match to eliminate us. I have to emphasise the result was not arranged.

"Both teams were playing at the end not to risk anything. It was a tactical game," added Saadane.

Angola coach Manuel Jose acknowledged there was little for the 50,000-strong crowd to enthuse about.

"It wasn't a great spectacle but we fulfilled our objective," said Jose.

Algeria had the better of the exchanges and created goal chances in each half while Angola's only opportunity came in the eighth minute when Djalma cut inside the defence but failed to get any power on his shot.

The dearth of goalmouth action in Luanda contrasted with two quick goals in Cabinda as Mali took an early grip against Malawi.

Frederic Kanoute caught Malawi keeper Swadick Sanudi out of his goal in the first minute and Seydou Keita cracked in a powerful, long range free kick two minutes later.

Malawi pulled a second-half goal back through Russell Mwafulirwa but Mamadou Bagayoko ensured Mali's only win at the tournament five minutes from time.

Angola and Algeria will find out their quarter-final opponents on Tuesday when Group B concludes with the game between Burkina Faso and Ghana in Luanda.

Ivory Coast have already gone through from Group B but it is yet to be determined whether they finish first or second.