AFCON: Drama As 10-Men Cote d’Ivoire Beat Mali In Late Come Back

  • To face DR Congo in semi-final

Hosts Cote d’Ivoire pulled off an extraordinary comeback win despite being reduced to 10 men as they beat Mali 2-1 after extra time to reach the semi-finals of this year’s TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

In a dramatic quarter-final clash inside the Stade de la Paix in Bouake, the Elephants were dealt an early blow when Bayer Leverkusen defender Odilon Kossounou conceded a penalty and was later sent off for fouling Lassine Sinayoko with a second yellow card just before the break. Keeper Yahia Fofana came to the party by saving Adama Traore’s spot kick to keep the Elephants level at the break.

But how often can a side flirt with elimination before they finally go out? Ivory Coast played the entirety of the second half with 10 men, were 1-0 down, and seemingly on their way out of the Africa Cup of Nations when, in the final minute of normal time, the substitute Simon Adingra darted in from the right flank, squared for Seko Fofana and then, after inadvertently blocking his teammate’s shot, reacted quickest to stab in the loose ball.

Another great escape for the hosts, who completed their victory with characteristic drama in the final minute of extra time. It may not make much rational sense, but Ivory Coast are in the semi-final, where they will face the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If any side can stop them, they will have had to overcome not only a fine squad and passionate home support but also a sense of narrative momentum that, at the moment, feels unstoppable.

The Malians were devastated and while some of the players and their coach, Éric Chelle, wept, others jostled the Egyptian referee, Mohamed Adel, leading to a red card for Hamari Traoré

In this epic encounter, the Elephants once again showed their fighting spirit to stun another big rival and keep their AFCON dream alive and they have the heroics of keeper Fofana to thank for keeping the Eagles of Mali at bay once more.

The Ivorians now have a date with DR Congo in the semi-finals at the Alassane Ouattara Stadium in Abidjan on Wednesday, 07 February.

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