Africa Cup of Nations: Sudan win first point since 1976

By Piers EdwardsBBC Sport
Sudan's Mohamed Ahmed Bashir
Mohamed Ahmed Bashir celebrates after scoring Sudan's first Nations Cup goal since 1976 and the same player scored again to earn a deserved draw in Malabo

Sudan earned their first Africa Cup of Nations point in 36 years when drawing 2-2 with Angola in Malabo.

The southern Africans took control after four minutes as Manucho pounced on a defensive error to drill home.

That left Sudan needing their first finals goal since 1976 and it duly arrived when Mohamed Ahmed Bashir headed home after the half-hour.

After Manucho converted a spot-kick for his second, Bashir struck late on to earn a deserved draw for the Sudanese.

After winning the Nations Cup on home soil in 1970, Sudan's national team has gone downhill and suffered a 32-year absence from the finals until returning at Ghana 2008, only to lose all their games without scoring.

So after Manucho pounced on Nagm Eldin's hesitation after four minutes, striding on unchallenged before cracking home an angled drive, there were legitimate fears for Sudan's fortunes.

Especially since the first job for Akram Elhadi, brought in for regular goalkeeper Mahjoub El Moez, was to pick the ball out of the net.

But in a largely-deserted Nuevo Estadio de Malabo, where the sound of the Angola trumpets filled the void, Sudan - the second lowest-ranked tournament at the finals - gradually came into the game.

Mohamed Tahir was the first to test Carlos in the Angolan goal as he fired in a terrific 25-yarder before Mohamed Ahmed Bashir made history in the 33rd minute.

Mudather El Taib swung over a cross from the right wing which Bashir flicked into the top corner before charging to the corner flag where he kissed the ground in celebration.

The goal was no less than Sudan's play merited, after Angola had slackened off, but the East Africans gifted the Palancas Negras another lead in the opening minutes of the second period.

Defender Hamid Nazar was the guilty party as his lazy challenge felled FC Porto's Djalma, and Manucho slotted the penalty home to become the tournament's top scorer with three goals.

That left Sudan needing another strike to stay in the finals and they slowly worked their way back into a game where forward Nando Rafael made his long-awaited debut for the Palancas Negras.

But the former Germany youth international suffered a mixed day as the second-half substitute was forced off with a shoulder injury, to be replaced by Jose Vunguidica.

The Angolan made an immediate impact but not in the fashion coach Lito Vidigal would have wanted as he chested a hopeful punt into the path of Bashir, who swivelled to volley home his second of the game.

Bashir could have scored a hat-trick but fired a late effort tamely at Carlos, who will miss Monday's final group game Ivory Coast after picking up his second yellow of the tournament for time-wasting.

Late on, Angola could have snatched victory when Manucho fired a yard or two over the crossbar from the halfway line after cleverly spotting Akram off his line.

The result leaves both teams in with a chance of making the quarter-finals on the final day, when the Sudanese will take on Burkina Faso.