AFCON 2023: Mali qualified to the ¼ with nervy victory over Burkina Faso


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Edmond Tapsoba’s own goal and a Lassine Sinayoko strike were enough for Mali.

Goals at the start of each half ensured Mali advanced to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso.

Mali have not trailed in the tournament so far and their chances of doing that were minimised when Edmond Tapsoba put through his own goal three minutes in, but Burkina Faso had Herve Koffi to thank for keeping the deficit to just one at the break.

Lassine Sinayoko doubled Mali’s lead with the first chance of the second period and Aston Villa winger Bertrand Traore brought Burkina Faso back into it from the penalty spot. Mali, however, held on to book their spot against Ivory Coast in the last eight despite a late offside scare.

Mali came racing out of the blocks and opened the scoring with their first chance after Amadou Haidara’s initial header came crashing off a post, with Tapsoba nudging the ball into his own net on the rebound.

Burkina Faso were reduced to half chances throughout the opening half-hour and came closest from an audacious long shot from Traore which comfortably rolled into the grasp of Djigui Diarra.

Mali looked the more likely to add a second and Sinayoko unleashed a first-time half-volley from close range which was magnificently kept out by Koffi.

Another Mali chance came and went a couple of minutes later when Kamory Doumbia found space outside the box before he let fly and smashed across goal, but Diarra watched the ball roll just wide of the far post.

It took three minutes in the first half for Mali to score again to make it 2-0 as Sinayoko was let through on goal and coolly slotted under Koffi’s legs to double their advantage.

Burkina Faso were given the opportunity to get back into the match after VAR adjudged Boubakar Kouyate had handled the ball inside the box and Traore stepped up for the resulting penalty to dispatch his third of the tournament.

Despite being second best in the first half, Burkina Faso almost brought themselves level with 20 minutes to go as a chance fell for Mohamed Konate, his powerful effort well saved by Diarra before he kept Cedric Badolo out on the follow-up.

Burkina Faso thought they found the equaliser at the death when Issoufou Dayo glanced home from a free-kick but the assistant referee’s offside flag came to Mali’s rescue.

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