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ICoast joins Eq Guinea in African Cup quarters

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea - African Cup favourite Ivory Coast beat Burkina Faso 2-0 to become the second team to guarantee a quarterfinal berth, while Sudan recovered from two defensive mistakes to draw 2-2 with Angola on Thursday.

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea - African Cup favourite Ivory Coast beat Burkina Faso 2-0 to become the second team to guarantee a quarterfinal berth, while Sudan recovered from two defensive mistakes to draw 2-2 with Angola on Thursday.

"We're going to the quarters! We're going to the quarters!" the Ivory Coast players sang in their changing room.

The results left Angola well placed to secure the other last-eight spot from Group B on Monday, while Sudan must beat the eliminated Burkina Faso in its last match to have any chance of qualifying.

Salomon Kalou opened the scoring for Ivory Coast in the 16th minute and Bakary Kone headed in a late own goal to ensure Ivory Coast joined co-host Equatorial Guinea in the knockout round.

Sudan rallied twice to salvage a draw against Angola. Manucho scored both goals for Angola, while Mohamed Ahmed Bashir was twice on target for Sudan.

Burkina Faso's early elimination prompted an angry rant from Portuguese coach Paulo Duarte, who said "primitive" failures to register players for the tournament hampered the team's chances and left his future in doubt.

"I'm not sure I will stay, but it doesn't just depend on me," said an animated Duarte. "A lot of things occurred in the tournament which are not normal. It's primitive that Burkina Faso doesn't know how to naturalize players. I lost three players 15 days before the Cup of Nations."

Ivory Coast sealed a quarterfinal spot with a match in hand after an improved performance, but still failed to hit the heights expected of a team packed with English Premier League players.

"I'm satisfied with the spirit of the group, though it's true that there are a lot of things to improve," Ivory Coast coach Francois Zahoui said.

Kalou, who pulled up with an apparent muscle strain in the second half, opened the scoring with a left-footed volley after a cross found its way to him in the box.

Ivory Coast laboured to create many meaningful chances, with Gervinho wasting several opportunities and Didier Drogba well shackled by the Burkina Faso defence.

Moumouni Dagano headed against the top of the bar after rising above Kolo Toure in the 72nd minute as Ivory Coast rode its luck to stay in front.

That was scant consolation to Duarte. "It was an incredible injustice that we lost this match," the Burkina Faso coach said. "Burkina Faso played a great match, had a great attitude, but they scored two goals. Football is like that. What more can I say?"

Bakary Kone headed a deep free kick into his own net in the 82nd minute to ensure Ivory Coast avoided a nervy finish without entirely silencing the critics.

"It's very important to get through the next round. Our objective is to finish in first place in the group," Zahoui said, adding that he hoped Kalou's injury would not prove too serious. "I hope he will recover soon because he is a very important player for us."

Sudan has realistic chances of making the quarterfinals, too, after a spirited performance to draw 2-2 with Angola.

Angola took the lead thanks to a glaring error from Sudan defender Nagm Eldin Abdalla.

Manucho robbed the ball as the defender tried to turn and advanced into the box to drill a low shot into the corner for his second cup goal.

Ahmed Bashir rose above the defence to send a glancing header just inside the post for Sudan's equalizer and the team's first goal in the finals since 1976.

Sudan defender Nazar Hamid committed another error when he brought down Djalma in the box for Manucho to score his second from the penalty spot in the 50th.

"I'm trying to minimize the small mistakes of our inexperienced defenders playing against high-quality strikers," Sudan coach Mohamed Abdallah said. "I think we are improving."

Angola then made a blunder of its own at the back as Jose Vinguidica failed to clear and Ahmed Bashir hooked into the net in the 73rd to level for the second time.

"We made a mistake and Sudan took advantage to score," Angola captain Andre Macanga said. "It's a very fair result. We depend on ourselves, there's still a long way to go in this tournament."

Regardless of the Sudan result against Burkina Faso in the final group match, Angola will make the quarterfinals if it avoids defeat against Ivory Coast.

"We will keep fighting. Our objective as always is to try to do better," Angola coach Lito Vidigal said.

On Friday, Group C resumes with Niger vs. Tunisia and Gabon vs. Morocco.