Winning start for Madagascar as they seek more glory in African Cup of Nations

Rayan Ravelson, shown in this file photo, scored on the 19th minute to give Madagascar a 1-0 victory over Ethiopia in the last Africa Cup of Nations in Johannesberg on Saturday. (Screengrab from YouTube video)
Updated 17 November 2019

Winning start for Madagascar as they seek more glory in African Cup of Nations

JOHANNESBURG: Madagascar, the surprise team of the last Africa Cup of Nations, kicked off their 2021 qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Ethiopia on Saturday through a Rayan Raveloson goal.

The 22-year-old midfielder from French second-tier side Troyes netted on 19 minutes in Antananarivo for the hosts, who are ranked 95th in the world, 56 places above their rivals.

It was a tentative start in Group K by the Malagasys with French coach Nicolas Dupuis admitting it will be hard to match the achievements of earlier this year in Egypt.

The Indian Ocean island nation stunned three-time African champions Nigeria, then upset the Democratic Republic of Congo before losing to Tunisia in the quarter-finals.

“We need to build on the work that has been done to show that hard work pays off,” stressed the 51-year-old, who also coaches a French lower league club.

“Otherwise, our achievements in Egypt could become a one-off,” said the coach who was rewarded for his efforts in Egypt with a new four-year contract.

Ivory Coast host Niger in Abidjan later Saturday in the other Group K matchday one fixture.

Meanwhile, a poor start by Bosnian Vahid Halilhodzic as coach of Morocco continued when lower ranked Mauritania forced a 0-0 Africa Cup of Nations matchday one qualifying draw in Rabat.

Morocco are ranked 42nd in the world, 63 places above Mauritania, and the barren deadlock left Halilhodzic with only one win from five matches since succeeding Herve Renard three months ago.

In warmup matches at home for the Cup of Nations, the Atlas Lions beat Niger, were held by Burkina Faso and Libya and lost to Gabon.

Frenchman Renard twice failed to bring the Cup of Nations trophy to Morocco, whose lone success in the premier African national team competition came 43 years ago in Ethiopia.

 

 


LIVE: Clash on the Dunes - Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia

Updated 41 min 26 sec ago

LIVE: Clash on the Dunes - Andy Ruiz Jr. vs Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia

  • Full coverage of huge night of boxing - including undercard
  • World heavyweight championship being held in Diriyah, Riyadh

RIYADH: The day has finally arrived - the eyes of the sporting world turn toward Saudi Arabia this evening for the highly anticipated rematch between world heavyweight champion Andy Ruiz Jr. and challenger Anthony Joshua who face each other in Diriyah in the ‘Clash on the Dunes’ – the biggest sporting event ever held in the Kingdom, and a night that could rival the historic ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and ‘Thrilla in Manila’ fights.

Stay tuned throughout the day for Arab News coverage below. (All times KSA)

22:15 - CELEBRITY SPOT / FIGHT ACTION: A big roar goes up in the arena as Usher - who performed last night in Riyadh - arrives for the big fight. He's just in time to see Dillian Whyte steal his heavyweight contest on points against Poland's Mariusz Wach, in a bruising, absorbing affair...

21:30 - Absolutely no guesses who these guys are supporting. The fans, both Saudi and international, are starting to stream in now and the atmosphere is definitely starting to build up...

21:00 - FIGHT ACTION: It's another short bout as the power of Filip Hrgovic from Croatia is too much for Eric Molina, who suffers a third-round knockout and the Croatian superstar marches on!

20:45 - The victorious Saudi boxer Zuhayr Al-Qahtani had a special message for Arab News following his WBC Middle East title win...

20:30 - The fans are filing in, despite the weather, the atmosphere is building up inside and outside the Diriyah Arena.

20:20 - FIGHT ACTION: Well, that was a blink-and-you'll-miss-it stoppage in the first televised fight of the night - Mahammadrasul Majidov of Azerbaijan lands a killer blow on the UK's Tom "Not So" Little and it's all over in the second round!

19:45 - FIGHT ACTION: He's done it! Saudi Arabia's Zuhayr Al-Qahtani dominates in his WBC Middle East title bout with Omar Dusary of Kuwait, who stood his ground through the eight rounds, but was visibly a beaten man by the end. The man from Jeddah takes the plaudits and is being interviewed by Sky Sports in the middle of the ring following his win...

19:00 - Check out this fantastic illustration for Arab News created by the Sporting Press especially for the Clash on the Dunes event...

18:30 - FIGHT ACTION: And the first action of the night is complete! Boxing out of the UAE, Majid Al-Naqbi gets a stoppage in the third round as he overpowers his Georgian rival Ilia Beruashvili in his lightweight contest to move 4-0 in his career. We are officially under way...

17:50 - In case you missed it earlier, Hollywood legend Sylvester Stallone is in the Kingdom and he was loving the weigh-in on Friday - he was particularly delighted with Ruiz Jr.'s choice of song for his entrance...

17:20 - There is plenty of boxing action for tonight's card - here is a run down of all the bouts we have to look forward to tonight before the main event...

16:45 - Fans attending the fight might be in for a chilly evening, as the heavens opened briefly earlier and the wind has been picking up...

16:00 - The very impressive Diriyah Arena was put together in less than a month, you can read about it here...

15:15 - There is also a considerable undercard for the Clash on the Dunes event - including Saudi Arabia's own Zuhayr Al-Qahtani who is facing Omar Dusary from Kuwait for the WBC Middle East title, and Arab News caught up with him ahead of his big night...

14:30 - The fans of Joshua were in good voice at the weigh-in, with thousands of British fans in the Kingdom to support their hero, while a vocal crowd of Mexicans and Americans were cheering for Ruiz. The atmosphere in the Diriyah Arena should be electric tonight...

14:15 - It’s not just the boxing world taking an interest in this fight in Saudi Arabia - Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho (known to be a big fan of Anthony Joshua) was asked who he thought would win tonight’s bout ...

13:45 - The boxing world held its breath on Friday night as the two heavyweight rivals faced off at Friday's weigh-in at Al-Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh. See a full gallery from the showdown here...

13: 30 - The excitement is starting to build as we inch closer to the bell going in the Clash on the Dunes later tonight. You can read all this week's build-up to the huge fight in our dedicated Spotlight, highlights of which are below:

Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr. weigh in for Clash on the Dunes bout in Diriyah

Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua focused on world heavyweight glory as they showcase skills at Riyadh public workout

Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua tour Diriyah stadium ahead of Saudi clash