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Mali Overcome Mauritania To Cement Top Spot

Two goals for Mali ensured they beat Mauritania in their final Group F match in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations on Thursday at  Japoma Stadium.

The Eagles were eyeing second win in their group after a draw against Gambia and a victory against Tunisia, as they had four points at the summit.

For the Mourabitounes, they also targeted the full three points in the encounter on the back of defeats from Tunisia and Gambia to restore some pride after an early elimination.

It was Mali who had a bright start imposing their game high up the pitch and went ahead on the second minute through Massadio Haidara after a good move by Mohamed Magassouba’s side.

Mauritani got into the game after that, with their high press restricting Mali playing from the back but they could not break down their resilient defence.

However, Pape Ba  had a great chance to  score an equalizer seven minutes before the half-time break after going through on goal on the right side of the box but he could not apply the finishing touch.

Despite their dominance, Mali could not add to their goal tally before the break.

Three minutes into the second half, were awarded a penalty after Souleymane Karamoko had committed a foul in the box. Ibrahima Kone then stepped up and scored his third goal of the tournament.

Mauritania created a great scoring chance when Houssen Abderrahmane played Oumar Camara into space just inside the box, but his 16-yard shot flashed across the face of goal.

Just after the hour mark, Abderrahmane  was in the thick of the action again when a great touch from Guessouma Fofana inside the box set him up, but the former was superbly denied from close range by the Arrows keeper.

In the 80th minute, the Eagles  keeper was at his best yet again, this time denying Fafona’s powerfully struck 16-yard volley with an acrobatic save.

In the end, Mali cruised to a rather comfortable 1-0 win and booked a place in the Round of 16 where they will meet Equatorial Guinea next Wednesday.

How they lined-up:

Mali: Ibrahim Mounkoro – Hamari Traore (Moussa Sissoko 63), Falaye Sacko, Kiki Kouyate, Massadio Haidara – Amadou Haidara (Aliou Dieng 82), Yves Bissouma (Mohamed Camara 63) –  Moussa Doumbia, Adama Traore Noss, Adama Traore Malouda (Lassine Sinayoko 74)  – Ibrahima Kone (Kalifa Coulibaly 75).

Mauritania: Babacar Diop (Mbacke Ndiaye 81) – Haruna Abou Demba (Souleymane Karamoko 39), Aly Abeid, Yalla Mohamed Dellahi, Houssen Abderrahmane – Mouhamed Soueid (Beyatt Lekoueiry 62), Guessouma Fofana, Bidda Mouhsine – Idrissa Thiam (Sidi Yacoub 81), Pape Ba, Oumar Camara (Adama Ba 61)



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