Mali secure top spot in Group E, send South Africa through

Mali have advanced into the last 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations as Group E winners after they defeated Angola 1-0 at the Ismailia Stadium Tuesday night.

The Eagles top the pool and go through to face Ivory Coast in the next round, with their clash against a fellow West African heavyweight set for the Suez Stadium next Monday.

With Angola losing, South Africa managed to sneak through to the last-16, joining Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Benin as the best four third-place teams.

Bafana Bafana will face hosts Egypt at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday.

The Palancas Negras, meanwhile, finished third but their record is not strong enough to qualify as one of the four ‘lucky losers’ to advance.

Angola had a wonderful chance to claim the lead as early as the fourth minute, with Gelson Dala put clean through on goal and with only Djigui Diarra to beat, but the forward put a tame shot straight into the arms of the goalkeeper.

Angola’s goalkeeper Toni Cabaca pulled off two good saves in quick succession just after the quarter-hour mark to deny Adama Traore and Falaye Sacko, as Mali began to move through the gears and show their class in attack.

On 32 minutes the Eagles came close again, with Kalifa Coulibaly getting on the end of a corner kick and sending a glancing header just wide of the far post.

Yet the West African heavyweights didn’t have to wait much longer to take the lead, with Amadou Haidara ripping home a superb long-range shot in the 37th minute to make it 1-0 to Mali – a lead they held up to the halftime interval.

The Palancas Negras opted for a double change early in the second half, sending on Wilson Eduardo and Manuel Show in an effort to bolster their attack and get back in the game.

Yet they never really threatened Diarra in the Mali goal, struggling to put together any sustained pressure. In fact, the Eagles looked the likelier scorers through the second half, using their pace and power to good effect.




©Backpage TXT





Comments are closed.