'Fighting spirit the key to victory'

January 26, 2006

ALEXANDRIA, Egypt, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Guinea matchwinner Pascal Feindouno said fighting spirit was behind his team's dramatic 2-1 comeback win over Zambia at the African Nations Cup on Thursday.

Captain Elijah Tana headed Zambia into a 34th-minute lead, but Feindouno converted a 74th-minute penalty and then struck a stoppage-time winner to snatch victory for Patrice Neveu's side in Group C.

'It's true that we suffered in the first half,' said playmaker Feindouno, who plays his club football in France for St Etienne.

'In the changing rooms at halftime our coach got us all motivated and told us not give up. We had to keep fighting right through to the end.

'After we equalised from the spot, we were still really up for it and we told ourselves we had to get a second goal. We managed it.'

Neveu, whose side are certain of a place in the quarter-finals after two wins, had nothing but praise for their determination to keep going.

'It was a really intense match, especially in the first half. Zambia really caused us a lot trouble -- and we knew they would. But we also knew we just had to keep working away,' said the Frenchman.

'We kept the rhythm going and we produced the kind of football we want to play.

'We missed a few goalscoring chances but I think on the basis of the second half it was a deserved victory. I'd like to congratulate my players for the spirit they showed.'

Zambia coach Kalusha Bwalya, who took part in six African Nations Cups in his playing career, said: 'It's a bit difficult for us to swallow the defeat.

'We took the lead and couldn't sustain it. But I think the players should be proud. They played very well and everyone put in a lot of effort.'