Chancel Mbemba

Photo by Omar Zoheiry/picture alliance via Getty Images

AFCON: Madagascar in QF as fairytale debut goes on; Algeria joins them

Leave a comment

CAIRO (AP) — Madagascar beat Congo 4-2 in a penalty shootout Sunday to ensure its fairytale debut at the African Cup of Nations continued as it advanced to the quarterfinals.

Congo defender Chancel Mbemba equalized in the last minute of normal time for 2-2 to send the game into extra time, and neither team could break through to avoid the shootout in Alexandria.

Defender Marcel Tisserand sent Congo’s first spot kick well over the bar and Yannick Bolasie also missed when he had to score after Ibrahim Amada, Romain Métanire, Thomas Fontaine and Jérôme Mombris all converted their penalties for Madagascar.

Algeria booked its place in the quarterfinals with a 3-0 win over Guinea, which was missing influential midfielder Naby Keïta through injury.

Goals from Youcef Belaïli in the first half, and Riyad Mahrez — with an impressive finish — and Adam Ounas in the second, set up a game against Mali or Ivory Coast on Thursday.

Madagascar’s team, mostly consisting of players plying their trade in the lower leagues in France, had already ensured a dream debut in the tournament after staying unbeaten to finish top of Group B, ahead of former winners Nigeria and Guinea. Madagascar’s 2-0 win over Nigeria was one of the biggest surprises in African Cup history.

Amada got the side off to a flying start against Congo when he let fly from outside the penalty area to send the ball in off the far post in the ninth minute, and captain Faneva Andriatsima set off wild celebrations when he canceled out Cedric Bakambu’s first-half equalizer with a diving header in the 77th, only for Mbemba to keep Congo’s hopes alive.

Cheered on by the Madagascan president, Andry Rajoelina, and around 450 jubilant fans, Andriatsima’s side held its nerve in the shootout to set up a quarterfinal against Ghana or Tunisia on Thursday.

Follow Live: Africa Cup of Nations – Group play reaches round 2

Associated Press
Leave a comment

The first round of group stage matches is complete and now the slate reracks for teams to truly take control of their Africa Cup of Nations destiny.

[ LIVE: Africa Cup of Nations scores ]

Host nation Egypt takes the field for a second time as they meet Democratic Republic of Congo in the late match in Cairo, while Nigeria has the chance to secure advancement as they play Guinea, and Uganda can push Zimbabwe to the brink of elimination.

Egypt and Uganda can each secure passage to the knockout stage through Group A if both should win, while a loss for either side would complicate matters.The host nation will be looking for a better attacking display after Mohamed Salah was isolated in the narrow opening round win over Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, Congo DR likely did not expect to be facing elimination this early, with a team that sports West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku, former Premier League midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, and Porto’s Chancel Mbemba.

In Group B, Nigeria can secure passage to the knockout phase with a win. The clear dominant side in a collection of countries that includes Guinea, Madagascar, and Burundi, Nigeria looked sluggish in its opener and will require a more complete attacking display to convince supporters they can challenge for the Cup.

2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Wednesday, June 26

Group A
Uganda v. Zimbabwe – 1 p.m. ET
Egypt v. Congo DR – 4 p.m. ET

Group B
Nigeria v. Guinea – 10:30 a.m. ET

Newcastle rallies to draw West Brom 2-2

Leave a comment
  • Baggies take 2-0 lead
  • Field scores first PL goal
  • Magpies score off two set pieces

A late West Brom own goal helped Newcastle United come back from a two-goal hole to draw 2-2 at the Hawthorns on Tuesday

Ciaran Clark scored Newcastle’s other goal after Hal Robson-Kanu and Sam Field staked the Baggies to a 2-0 lead.

The draw keeps West Brom winless since August, but it pulls the Baggies above Everton and into 16th place. Newcastle is three points and four places higher.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A sleepy start to the match was brought to life when Salomon Rondon had a go from 30 yards that bounced off the top of the cross bar.

That unfortunately was not a harbinger of what was the come, and the match crawled through the first half hour.

Isaac Hayden recorded a rare shot on target for Newcastle when Ben Foster collected a bounding 35th minute shot through traffic.

Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow rescued a looping header from Hal Robson-Kanu from the goal line.

Robson-Kanu would get his goal before the break, darting in front of Chancel Mbemba to nod Kieran Gibbs‘ cross over the line. The play was started by a fantastic Johnny Evans ball.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Newcastle threatened with an early corner kick, but Ciaran Clark couldn’t turn Matt Ritchie‘s service on frame. A free kick followed, but was poorly executed.

The hosts went up 2-0 in the 56th minute through Field, who raced to the back post to meet typical service from crossing wizard Matty Phillips.

The Magpies tried to answer off a pair of corners, and this time Clark headed Ritchie’s corner home. It was 2-1 in the 59th.

Darlow stopped a Robson-Kanu shot four minutes later. At the other end, Ayoze Perez turned and fired and Foster collected the ball in the 80th.

James McClan fouled DeAndre Yedlin on the edge of the 18 in the 82nd minute after a fine pass from Jonjo Shelvey.

That foul cost the Baggies, as Ritchie’s free kick was backheeled into his own goal off Evans by Rondon.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-0 Newcastle United: Gulls hold off Magpies

Leave a comment
  • Scoreless at half
  • Hemed nabs 2nd PL goal
  • NUFC leads in shots 17-7

Tomer Hemed‘s early second half goal helped Brighton and Hove Albion end Newcastle United’s three-match win streak in a 1-0 match at the Amex Stadium on Sunday.

Newcastle drops to eighth on goal differential, while the win boosts Brighton 13th.

Newcastle faces Liverpool on Oct. 1 ahead of the international break, while Brighton is off to Arsenal.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A first-minute foul on Joselu cued Matt Ritchie up for a free kick which led to a Newcastle corner kick. The effort swerved outside the 18, where Mikel Merino forced Mat Ryan into a diving right-handed parry.

At the other end? Something akin to a rugby ruck inside the 18 was barely cleared by the Magpies as the first five minutes promised an entertaining encounter.

Brighton worked a scintillating counter in the seventh minute, but it only led to a Tomer Hemed low effort. It was scooped easily by Rob Elliot.

The Seagulls saw Gross’ wide-open rocket clatter off Anthony Knockaert in front of the Newcastle goal, but Brighton had to feel good about the progress of the match.

It was against the run of play that Newcastle almost opened the scoring, as Christian Atsu sent Ayoze Perez down the left and his cutback found Joselu. The Spaniard dragged his shot just wide of the far post.

A wide open game, Chancel Mbemba found Perez for a shot that blazed wide of the frame in the 31st minute. Ritchie hit a free kick into the arms of Ryan eight minutes later.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Hemed gave Brighton its lead in the 51st minute off a free kick headed back into the mix by Stephens. Hemed plucked the ball out of the air with a raised boot to make it 1-0.

It could’ve been 2-0 five minutes later when Bruno found Solly March, but Elliot made a sliding boot save on the line.

Ritchie earned a dangerous free kick that was turned into a corner following a Merino rip, and the 63rd minute chance was played short and pushed out of bounds by Newcastle.

A series of corners arrived following the introductions of Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle, though the Gulls handled them fairly well.

The 79th minute saw a terrific cross from DeAndre Yedlin go for nought when Atsu grounded a shot at Ryan.

Substitute Jesus Gamez bounced a shot wide of the near post in the 84th minute, as time was running low for the Magpies.

Hemed stamped Yedlin’s calf in the 88th minute, the clever dirty play unseen by the officials.

Newcastle United 2-1 Stoke City: Three-straight for Magpies

Leave a comment
  • Atsu gives NUFC lead
  • Shaqiri equalizes
  • Lascelles nabs winner

Jamaal Lascelles scored late and Christian Atsu nabbed his first Premier League goal as Newcastle United held off Stoke City to win its third-straight with a 2-1 decision at St. James Park on Saturday.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored for Stoke, and was the center of attention for much of the match.

Newcastle rises fourth for the time being with nine points, while Stoke sits 13th with four points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Rob Elliott intervened in the fifth minute as Stoke made its first dangerous charge into the Newcastle end.

While Stoke was in control, many American eyes were focused on DeAndre Yedlin as the right-sided man returned from injury. Deployed as a right back, he made a huge interception outside his 18, then fired an overlapping run alongside Matt Ritchie to find the ball in the Stoke end moments later.

And Newcastle scored on a counter, with Ritchie delivering the ball to Atsu.

Joselu didn’t realize the time he had with Chancel Mbemba‘s cross into the box, flicking a first-time effort wide of the far post against his former club.

Ritchie had a 31st minute free kick from the right, but his effort cruised into Butland’s arms.

Joselu had another crack at it in the 34th minute, but couldn’t push the effort beyond a sliding Butland. That turned into another free kick from the right, but Erik Pieters blocked the hard-hit cross.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Joselu continued his snakebitten day versus Stoke in the 46th minute when Atsu found him inside the 18 only to watch the Spaniard blaze over the bar.

Stoke leveled it up through Shaqiri, who had been remonstrating at the referee during the first half and carried that fire and the ball for a 58th minute strike that curled around Elliott.

Ayoze Perez had a goal ruled offside a minute later. And Atsu was denied a goal and the crowd a penalty when Kurt Zouma got the slightest of touches on an intervention before chopping down the attacker.

Newcastle reclaimed the lead through its captain, as Lascelles rose high for a corner to nod off Kevin Wimmer and into the net. It was 2-1 in the 70th.