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Keita wants Syli Stars to step up against Nigeria


Liverpool’s Naby Keita during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Andrew Yates .

Liverpool midfielder, Naby Keita has revealed that Guinea have to change their approach for their second Group B match against Nigeria on Wednesday, June 26.

The Syli Stars were almost beaten in their opener against Madagascar but earned a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw after Bordeaux striker, Francois Kamano converted a spot kick in the 66th minute. Keita was introduced off the bench in the 62nd minute, his first competitive game since suffering an injury against Barcelona in the semifinal of the Champions League on May 1.

Guinea’s defensive frailties were exposed by Madagascar and the Liverpool star has insisted that they must avoid making mistakes at the back in their next game versus Nigeria. Keita said at the mixed zone on Saturday: “I think we have to play forward and we have to try to play with aggression.


“When you score, do not accept that the opposing team equalizes because in this kind of tournament, do not give the opportunity to the opponent when you lead.’”Nigeria will qualify for the round of 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations if they beat Guinea on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Coach Paul Put bemoaned his team’s defensive showing against Madagascar, saying his wards have to be better organised against Nigeria. 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 equaliser but also Madagascar’s first ever goal in the biennial showpiece.

In the 55th minute, Carolus Andria, who assisted the equaliser for the Barea, found space behind the Guinean backline to finish past goalkeeper Aly Keita. The goal prompted Put to introduce 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.


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NABY KEITASyli Nationale
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