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AFCON: Mali wins in a clinical victory against South Africa

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Mali secured a 2-0 victory against South Africa in their Africa Cup of Nations Group E match on Tuesday, with goals from Hamari Traore and Lassine Sinayoko within six minutes in the second half, South Africa missed a penalty during the match.

During the match in Korhogo, Percy Tau missed a crucial penalty in the opening half, which proved to be costly as the clinical Eagles never faced any danger and scored twice.

Mali’s victory in the match took them to the top of the group, ahead of Namibia on goal difference.

Namibia had previously caused an upset in the first match of the double-header, defeating Tunisia 1-0.

South Africa has had a difficult time against Mali in previous Cup of Nations meetings, as they have been eliminated twice in the quarter-finals by them.

Mali’s closest attempt at winning the African showpiece was during their debut in 1972, where they reached the final but lost 3-2 to Congo Brazzaville in Yaounde.

South Africa’s first appearance in the African showpiece was 24 years after Mali’s debut, where they won the final against Tunisia 2-0 in Johannesburg.

However, they have not been able to win the trophy again in their nine subsequent appearances.

Mali did not have any players from their domestic league in their starting line-up, while South Africa had nine players, including seven from Mamelodi Sundowns, one of the top teams in the league.

During the match, South Africa had a chance to take the lead on the 19th minute when Percy Tau, who plays for Al Ahly, one of the top teams in Egypt and Africa, missed a penalty by shooting it over the crossbar, which was a huge disappointment for him.

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The penalty was awarded after the referee reviewed the incident using the VAR touchline monitor and saw that Sikou Niakate had elbowed Evidence Makgopa after Aubrey Modiba crossed the ball into the area.

South Africa almost suffered the consequences of the missed penalty in the first-half added time, as goalkeeper Ronwen Williams managed to stop Lassine Sinayoko’s attempt.

Sinayoko was able to break clear due to a couple of Bafana Bafana defenders failing to clear the ball, but goalkeeper Ronwen Williams quickly came off his line and cleared the ball away from danger.

Mali should have gone in front soon after half-time but Amadou Haidara fired wildly off-target from close range with only the goalkeeper to beat.

However, the Eagles did take the lead on 60 minutes thanks to the alertness of captain Traore after a free-kick.

Mali almost scored a goal when Sekou Koita’s set-piece hit the underside of the crossbar and rebounded, but Hamari Traore was quick to react and pushed the ball into the net.

Just six minutes later, Lassine Sinayoko showed his physical strength by brushing aside Siyanda Xulu and scoring from close range, which gave Mali a 2-0 lead.

In the second round of Group E matches, Mali face Tunisia on Saturday and Namibia meet South Africa on Sunday with both matches in Korhogo.


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