Friday’s FIFA International Friendlies Roundup: Mali Defeat Ghana, Morocco Thrash Senegal
Highlights of the international friendly fixtures played on Friday.
As we roll towards the resumption of 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in just three week’s time, teams are getting ready in their final tune-ups to prepare their team for international play.
Friday was a big day for 13 teams to take on the field and get in some work after several months of suspension of the beautiful game due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
There were several interesting matches on yesterday’s list of international friendly fixtures, including some clashes between African football superpowers. Here are some of the highlights:
Mali 3-0 Ghana
C.K Akonnor lost his first match as the Ghana national team head coach when Mali stunned the Black Stars 3-0 in a match played at the Emir Sports complex in Antalya, Turkey.
The former Ghana international watched his team dominate a match in which they missed several open chances in a match played under floodlights.
Stade Rennais captain Hamari Traore scored the opener in the third minute while El Bilal Traore and Haidara Amadou netted in the 49th and 75th minutes to secure a victory for the Eagles.
Thomas Partey, Alexander Djiku and Bernard Mensah appeared rusty for the Black Stars as they failed to get important balls in the midfield which was dominated by Mali trio Cheick Doucoure, Fofana Mamadou Haidara Amadou and Toni Kevin.
Ghana will play another friendly with 2022 World Cup host Qatar next Monday as part of their preparations for a double header Nations Cup qualifier against Sudan in November.
Tunisia 3-0 Sudan
Al Ahly left-back Ali Maaloul scored for the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia in their convincing win against the Falcon of Jediane.
Olympique de Marseille star Said-Eddine Khaoui opened the scoring in the 17th minute before Maaloul goal in the 25th minute. Brøndby IF’s Anis Ben Sliman placed the final nail on the coffin, to cap off a rampant first stanza.
Both the teams had been redundant all year due to the coronavirus pandemic and Thursday’s tie was a good warm-up for the Nations Cup qualifiers ahead.
Tunisia will now shift attention to next Tuesday’s friendly against the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
Morocco 3-1 Senegal
Chelsea’s new signing Hakim Ziyech provided a wonderful assist for Morocco in their convincing victory against 2019 Africa Cup of Nations silver medalist Senegal.
Hakim set up Selim Amallah for the opener after 10 minutes before the goal scorer then set up Youssef En-Nesyri for the Atlas Lions’ second in the 71st minute.
Ismail Sarr scored a consolation for Teranga Lions from a penalty that was awarded to the West Africans in the dying minutes of the game.
Morocco are billed to take on the Central African Republic in November in back-to-back Nations Cup qualifiers in November.
Nigeria 0-1 Algeria
The Super Eagles of Nigeria fell to a narrow defeat to Algeria in an entertaining match played at the Wörthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt, Austria.
The Africa champions took an early lead from a scrambled effort on a corner kick six minutes into the game.
Rabby Bensebaini, who turns for Algerian side Constantine, scored the all-important goal that extended the North African’s unbeaten run to 19 matches.
The Super Eagles did try to rally back with an equalizer but the efforts of their attacking force were neutralized by an outstanding Algeria defence.
Other select results;
Japan 0-0 Cameroon
Kenya 2-1 Zambia
Mauritania 2-1 Sierra Leone
Burkina Faso 3-0 DR Congo
South Africa 1-1 Namibia
Belgium 1-1 Ivory Coast
Andorra 1-2 Cape Verde
Zambia 1-0 Malawi