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Mauritania coach Amir Abdou has commended his side following their historic qualification to the quarterfinals of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) 2022 in Algeria.

Abdou hailed his players for believing that they could deliver against a well-established Mali side that has been to two finals in 2016 and 2020.

Mauritania edged the Eagles of Mali 1-0 thanks to a Mamadou Sy goal in the 53rd minute at the Miloud Hadefi Stadium in Oran.

This is Mauritania’s first victory at the CHAN after registering six losses in six games in the past two editions they featured in – 2014 and 2018.

“Some people doubted us but that only motivated us. It made us even want to win more. It is the players who believed in themselves and in their ability to win. I am very harsh on them but now we have managed to qualify to the last eight,” said a very content Abdou in the post-match press conference after the full-time whistle.

“The game was tough going into the half-time break. There was no room for fear or intimidation. This is how we managed to score. In the second half, we stepped up and became more aggressive. We changed our tactics. We knew that our opponents would look for scoring opportunities, so we did everything to defend well.

“It is an absolute pleasure to write this new page in Mauritania’s history. The result of this match is a result of our hard work. It is difficult to stay at the top. You might fall at any time, but we shall try to maintain the same momentum in the rest of the tournament.

“This is a positive outcome for us. We are hungry for wins and for successful games. Our next game against Senegal will be a tough game but we have always believed in ourselves. Our players give their best. They give their best and have shown conviction that they want to perform well to the best of their abilities.”

Abdou is now unbeaten in 15 games since taking over Mauritania in March 2022.

“When I arrived in Mauritania, I told the players not to be scared. I told them that they need to believe in themselves. Today, they were not intimidated by the occasion and the pressure that came with the game.

“They stepped up and played their opponents with confidence. Today, they showed that the sky’s the limit,” Abdou added with great pride in his eyes.

Mauritania will now face neighbours Senegal in the quarter-finals on 27 January at 1900hrs at the 19 May 1956 Stadium in Annaba.

Source: CAF

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