Coach Paul Put has bemoaned his team’s defensive showing against Madagascar in their opening Group B Africa Cup of Nations fixture, held at the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday evening.
Sory Kaba opened the scoring for Guinea in the 34th minute, courtesy of a well-timed long pass from midfielder Amadou Diawara. However, on resumption from the half-time break, Anicet Abel capitalised on a poor defensive set-up from the Syli Nationale to nod home a corner kick from Carolus Andria – registering not just the equaliwer but also Madagascar’s first ever goal in the biennial showpiece.
In the 55th minute, Carolus Andria, who assisted the equaliwer for the Barea, found space behind the Guinean backline to finish past goalkeeper Aly Keita.
The goal prompted Put to introduce Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita in the 62nd minute, and the substitution proved effective as Guinea began to create numerous chances in the final third.
The West Africans finally got back on level terms in the 66th minute, when captain Ibrahima Traore was fouled in the box, and Francois Kamano scored from the resulting penalty kick. However, neither side could find a breakthrough from there – and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.
Reacting to the game, the head coach of the Syli Nationale believed his side could have done better in the way they defended.
“First half we strike, it was 1-0. And then they equalise through a corner kick. These are mistakes that cannot happen at this level,” Put told the media after the match.
“Then we were out of control of the game and then we take a second goal for nothing. And we had to do everything to get back […] and then we can dominate the game, but unfortunately, we conceded those stupid goals.
“I hope it’s a lesson for the players and now we have to know what to do against Nigeria.”
Guinea will take on the Super Eagles of Nigeria next, who are top of the standings courtesy of their 1-0 win over Burundi in the other group fixture.
When quizzed on his plans ahead of the match on Wednesday, Put stressed on the need for his side to avoid making the same mistakes.
“I think we have quality in the team. I think we dominated a big part of the game [against Madagascar]. But we may not make those faults behind in our organization against Nigeria,” the former Burkina Faso coach said.
“No excuses if you make mistakes against Nigeria, it will be difficult.”
Guinea will be gunning for their first win this year when they play Nigeria in their second Group B game at the Alexandria Stadium on June 26.