AFCON

Mali down Botswana

2012-02-01 22:14
Mali captain Cedric Kante, left, is challenged by Botswana's Boitumelo Mafoko (AP)

Libreville - Mali secured their first Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final spot in eight years after a 2-1 win over Botswana here on Wednesday.

Goals from Garra Dembele and Barcelona star Seydou Keita put Mali into the all important Group D runners-up spot after the 1-1 draw between Ghana and Guinea in the other game being played simultaneously at Franceville.

The Eagles, who finished on six points, one behind group winners Ghana, will now face coach Alain Giresse's former team, co-hosts Gabon, in the last eight in Libreville on Sunday.

Botswana coach Stanley Tshosane made four changes from the side routed 6-1 by Guinea last time out, including relegating Dipsy Selolwane, scorer of the Zebras' first ever Cup goal on his return on Saturday, to the bench.

Giresse was missing Samba Diakite, the suspended Nancy midfielder.

After a cagey opening Botswana created the first decent opportunity when Lemponye Tshireletso raced on to Ndiyapo Letsholathebe's neat flick in the box in the 20th minute only for his shot to go the wrong side of the near post.

Mali's attack was having trouble breaking down the Zebras' sky blue defence but with Ghana having taken the lead in Franceville Giresse's men only required a draw to go through as group runners-up.

And even when news came through that Guinea had levelled the Mali team and their legion of fans were still smiling as they remained in the runners-up spot thanks to their 1-0 win over Guinea in their opening match.

Botswana dampened their spirits six minutes after the restart in a beautifully worked move with Mogakolodi Ngele finding Moemedi Moatlaping over on the far right.

Moemedi controlled the ball well with a slide rule pass for Ngele, now handily positioned in the box, to slam past Mali keeper Oumar Sissoko.

That sparked Mali into life and on 56 minutes they levelled when Abdou Traore's floating cross from the left was headed into the hands of keeper Modiri Marumo by Modibo Maiga, with Dembele pouncing on the loose ball to convert a half-volley and send the Mali fans wild.

That was the 21-year-old Fribourg striker's first goal for his country, and it couldn't have come at a more opportune moment.

On 68 minutes Mali almost took the outright lead when substitute Ousmane Coulibaly struck the underside of the crossbar, the ball bouncing back into play.

They duly took it though with quarter of an hour remaining after sterling work fending off a posse of sky blue defenders in the box by Tidiane Cheick Diabete set up Keita to chip in from close range.

The Mali players had a nervous wait after the final whistle, an eery silence descending on the L'Amitie stadium with five minutes of stoppage time being played out in Franceville - all eyes transfixed on the giant screen where the Ghana game was being shown.

When the agonising wait was over the stadium erupted.

Read more on:    afcon 2012  |  seydou keita
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
Vote

Who do you think will be the next manager at Manchester United?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.