AFCON 2023: Ivory Coast into ½ after late drama against Mali

The Elephants scored in the last minute of both normal time and extra time in a match featuring three red cards.

The Ivory Coast fought back to claim a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 win over Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Nene Dorgeles’ memorable strike put Mali ahead after Odilon Kossounou’s first-half red card for the hosts.

But Simon Adingra’s 90th-minute equaliser took the tie to extra time before the Ivory Coast won it in the final minutes of the match through Oumar Diakite, who was then sent off along with Mali’s Hamari Traore.

Mali missed a golden opportunity to take an early lead when Adama Traore’s penalty was saved.

Kossounou clumsily fouled pacey striker Lassine Sinayoko in the box before Ivorian keeper Yahia Fofana did well to get down and make a fingertip stop in the bottom right corner.

Traore tested the Ivory Coast’s defenders in behind but his appeals for a free-kick on the edge of the box were waved down by the referee, who showed the Hull player a yellow card for simulation.

The Elephants fluffed their best chance of the match after 40 minutes. Right-back Serge Aurier made a direct run inside before picking out Seko Fofana on the edge of the box but the midfielder put too much power into the strike as his effort flew over the bar.

A poor first half for Emerse Fae’s hosts was made worse when Kossounou picked up a second yellow and was sent off.

Sinayoko continued to wreak havoc, breaking away from orange shirts before a cynical challenge from Kossounou earned him a deserved red card.

Mali increased the pressure on their 10-man opponents after the break as they searched for an opener.

Amadou Haidara was unmarked on the edge of the area and he almost found the breakthrough when his long-range shot dipped towards the bottom corner, forcing Yahia Fofana into action.

But after 71 minutes Mali got the goal they deserved after a stunning strike from substitute Dorgeles.

Dorgeles, who was born in the Ivory Coast, picked up the ball in midfield before he took advantage of the free man and drove into space.

The Salzburg midfielder cut onto his right foot, producing a wonderful dipping effort which found the top corner.

The strike, which will be a goal of the tournament contender, had too much power and accuracy for Yahia Fofana to replicate his earlier heroics.

But in dramatic circumstances, the Ivory Coast levelled the tie on 90 minutes.

Seko Fofana’s effort crashed off a Malian defender and into the path of substitute and Brighton winger Adingra, who smashed home to equalise.

In the last minute of extra time, Ivory Coast stole the victory.

An attacking free-kick saw the loose ball fall to Seko Fofana, who let fly before Diakite managed to get a crucial touch, sending the ball into the net and the tournament hosts into the semi-final.

Diakite picked up a second yellow card after he removed his shirt during the celebrations before Hamari Traore was shown a straight red.


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