Sudan consigned Burkina Faso to a 2-1 defeat on Monday to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals at the expense of Angola.
Mudather Eltaib scored either side of halftime to bag the precious points. To add icing to the cake, Sudan also celebrated winning their first Cup of Nations match in more than three decades.
Sudan coach Mohammed “Mazda” Abdullah was thrilled, saying: “We deserved to be in the quarters.”
“We played well ... we’ve got one of the youngest teams in the tournament, with an average age of 24,” he said. “My side is making progress, after a defeat, a draw and now a win. This was one of our best matches.”
His Burkina Faso counterpart Paulo Duarte believed his team have a bright future.
“If I stay on [as coach], we’ll make it to the World Cup, we’ve got the quality to do that,” Duarte said.
The game was played out in a near-funereal atmosphere, with almost more players than fans in the stadium, an embarrassment for the organizers.
Sudan made one change, injured defender Bala Jaber replaced by Ahmed Khalefa.
For Burkina Faso, the hapless Bakary Kone, who scored an own-goal against Ivory Coast, and then punched a rival player and was instrumental in an Angola goal in the 2-2 draw, was dropped.
The Olympique Lyonnais defender was one of three switches, with Ibrahim Gnanou, Djakaridja Kone and Narcisse Yameogo getting their chance to shine for already eliminated Burkina Faso.
The game was only seconds old when Sudan coach Abdullah was forced to make another change, when Nagm Eldin had to be stretchered off after a collision in the Sudan box. Musab Omar came on in his place.
Sudan took a 33rd-minute lead largely against the run of play when Mudather did well to keep going after Hamadou Tall’s sliding tackle to shoot side-footed past the diving Daouda Diakite by the near post.
Sudan went off at the break level on points with Angola, but they still needed to improve their goal-difference to leapfrog the 2010 hosts.
On 56 minutes, second-half substitute Issiaka Ouedraogo had a decent chance to level the match for Burkina Faso, but his shot went wide.
With news filtering through from Malabo that Ivory Coast had gone 2-0 up, that meant Sudan and not Angola would progress if things stayed the same for the remaining 25 minutes.
Burkina Faso, though, were looking dangerous and they had a goal disallowed shortly after for offside, but Sudan wrapped up what by all accounts had appeared an unlikely place in the knockout stages in the 80th minute when Mudather ran onto a high ball, beat the goalkeeper and slotted in to an empty goal.
Ouedraogo’s stoppage-time contribution was too little, too late to ruin Sudan’s memorable night.