• Sunday, March 03, 2024
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AFCON: Mali set up exciting quarter-final clash with Ivory Coast

Mali (1)

Mali reached the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time since 2013 after Burkina Faso 2-1 on Monday to set up an exciting fixture against host nation Ivory Coast for a place in the semi-finals.

An own goal from Edmond Tapsoba gave the Eagles a third-minute lead, and Mali had several chances to add to their advantage before half-time.

Lassine Sinayoko did make it 2-0 early in the second half with a finish through the legs of goalkeeper Herve Koffi, but Bertrand Traore pulled a goal back for the Stallions from the penalty spot just before the hour mark.

Issoufou Dayo thought he had equalised for the Burkinabe in the final minute, but his header from a free-kick was ruled out for offside and Mali saw out eight minutes of added time.

The Eagles of Mali have reached the last eight for the first time since 2013, and Eric Chelle’s side will now face the Ivory Coast on Saturday for a place in the semi-finals.

“It was a really tough match against a good side. We had to work extra hard, but I am glad we eventually got the result,” said Sinayoko.

“We can celebrate this victory while keeping at the back of our minds that there is still a lot of work ahead.”

Premier League duo Yves Bissouma of Tottenham Hotspur and Dango Ouattara of Bournemouth both started on the bench for Mali and Burkina Faso respectively.

Mali made six changes from the side that fought a 0-0 draw with Namibia to top Group E, including a new four-man midfield.

Group D runners-up Burkina Faso changed four of the side beaten 2-0 by Angola with out-of-favour Aston Villa forward Traore the captain.