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Misses, Anxiety and Drama as Ivory Coast Beats Mali to Advance into AFCON Semi Finals

Ivory Coast booked their spot in the semifinal of the tournament following a comeback 2-1 victory against Mali at Stade Bouake on Saturday night.

Serendipity or hardwork, Ivory Coast just cruised into the semi final of the 2023 African Cup of Nations beating Mali with 10 men.

In what was one of the most drama-filled matches at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations so far, Ivory Coast booked their spot in the semifinal of the tournament following a comeback 2-1 victory against Mali at Stade Bouake on Saturday night.

The host nation will now face DR Congo in the semifinals on Wednesday 7 February in Abidjan.

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Mali put the home team under immense pressure during the opening exchanges of the game and created a couple of scoring chances in the process. Then, after spotting a potential handball inside the Ivory Coast box in the 8th minute, the referee was summoned to review the incident on the touchline monitor. However, the incident was chalked off after the referee recognised a Mali player in an offside position.

Mali were then awarded a penalty in the 16th minute after Lassine Sinayoko drew a foul inside the Elephants bos. After stepping up to the spot, Adama Traore’s left-footed shot was saved by Yahia Fofana in goal. Nonetheless, the game opened up to be an end-to-end affair leading up to the cooling break.

Les Aigles looked comfortable on the ball toward the end of the half and often put the Ivorians under pressure with their pressing tactics in the middle of the park. In what was another major talking point of the game, Ivory Coast were reduced to 10-men in the 44th minute after Sinayoko’s twisting run on the edge of the area caused Odilon Kossounou to commit his second yellow card offense of the game.

Eric Chelle’s outfit commenced the second-half on the front foot while Ivory Coast struggled to assert themselves on the tie as a result of being a man light. While a few goal scoring chances were created leading up to the hour-mark, Mali continued to ask questions going forward.

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Mali’s pressure paid off in the 71st minute after Nene Dorgeles produced one of the goals of the tournament so far. After incisive interplay on the edge of the Ivory Coast area, Nene collected the ball on the left flank before unleashing a powerful shot from range that left Fofana soundly beaten between the sticks.

Ivory Coast levelled matters with 90 seconds left on the clock as Simon Adingra got his name on the scoreboard. With goalkeeper Fofana going long with a lobbed effort into the Mali box, Adingra latched onto a ricocheted shot inside the area before guiding the ball from close range.

As the game was forced into extra-time, Sebastien Haller produced one of the chances of the game for Ivory Coast after his header in the 96th minute struck the Mali upright. With seconds left on the clock, the Elephants took the lead in the 120th minute with Oumar Diakite producing a delightful flick inside the small box following a shot on the edge of the area.


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