Gelson Dala's double helped Angola earn their first win in nine games at the Afcon finals

Gelson Dala struck twice as Angola beat Mauritania 3-2 in a breathless Africa Cup of Nations clash to go top of Group D.

Dala’s first-half opener was cancelled out by Sidi Amar, but he scored his second soon after the interval and Gilberto put Angola 3-1 ahead three minutes later.

Aboubakary Koita fired a stunning second goal for Mauritania just before the hour-mark and his side searched for an equaliser in a pulsating match, but Angola held on.

Mabululu, who stepped off the bench to score in Angola’s opening 1-1 draw with Algeria, forced the first save of the match with an angled drive.

Both sides created plenty of first-half chances and Pape Ba went close for Mauritania when his shot from inside the penalty area was saved.

Angola took a deserved lead in the 30th minute when Dala provided a thumping close-range finish, only for Mauritania to equalise against the run of play before the breakthrough Amar’s low finish from inside the area.

It was Mauritania’s first-ever African Cup of Nations goal from open play.

In first-half stoppage time, Mauritania’s Omare Gassama forced Angola goalkeeper Neblu into a brilliant low save and Dala was denied at the other end by Babacar Niasse.

The Palancas Negras appeared to take control early in the second half with two goals in the space of three minutes.

Dala burst through the middle into the penalty area and although forced wide, he fired a left-footed finish into the far corner to put Angola 2-1 up in the 50th minute.

Angola doubled their lead in the 53rd minute. Gilberto pounced on Mauritania substitute Khadim Diaw’s mistake in the box and his angled shot flew into the net via a deflection.

In a see-saw encounter Mauritania hit back five minutes later with an early contender for goal of the tournament.

Koita dropped his shoulder to make space 30 yards from goal and unleashed an unstoppable shot into Neblu’s top right-hand corner.

Neblu thwarted Amar with a flying save and as the chances continued to flow, Dala was denied his hat-trick by Mauritania goalkeeper Niasse.

Koita fired off target as Mauritania, who lost out to a stoppage-time penalty in their opening 1-0 defeat to Burkina Faso, pressed for an equaliser but they failed to carve out any further clear-cut chances.