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Late flurry earns Mali astonishing draw

Published:Monday | January 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

LUANDA, Angola (AP):

Mali roared back from being 4-0 down in the 79th minute of the opening African Cup of Nations match to earn a sensational 4-4 draw with hosts Angola yesterday.

Saudi Arabia-based striker Flavio put Angola in front with a 36th-minute diving header before doubling the lead in the Group A game-six minutes later, with another header from defender Mabina's cross.

Gilberto made it 3-0 with a 67th-minute penalty before Manucho converted another penalty seven minutes later for what seemed an unassailable lead.

But substitute Seydou Keita started Mali's astonishing comeback in the 79th minute, before Frederic Kanoute made it 4-2, Keita got his second of the night in stoppage time and Mustapha Yatabare grabbed the equaliser at the end.

'We were supposed to win'

"In my 42-year career as coach, this is the first time something like this has happened," Angola's Portuguese coach Manuel José said. "We were supposed to win this game but we gave up at the end."

"That is what happens if you lose your concentration," Gilberto said. "We were on top of our game but we just lost it towards the end."

Algeria will play Malawi today in the other Group A game of a tournament that has been overshadowed by Friday's machine-gun attack on the Togo team bus which left three people dead.

The Togo squad flew out of Angola last night after the country's president and its prime minister had called the team home. A minute's silence was observed before yesterday's match in honour of those killed in the attack.