AFCON 2023: Diakite scores late winner in Ivory Coast dramatic win over Mali

Oumar Diakite was the hero of the evening for Ivory Coast who beat Mali to seal a spot in the semifinal of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Elephants earned a 2-1 win over the Eagles in extra time to continue their incredible run under interim head coach Emerse Faé.

Mali had a strong start to the quarterfinal game and the better of the two teams in the opening 20 minutes of the encounter.

They had the opportunity to take the lead early in the game as they were awarded a penalty for a foul in the box by Odilon Kossounou. However, Traore’s slightly scuffed spot-kick was saved by Fofana who guessed right.

Kossounou’s dreadful half came to an early end as he was shown his marching off orders for a foul on Sinayoko resulting in a free-kick for Mali.

Both teams headed into the break with no goals separating them.

The breakthrough however came in the 71st minute with substitute Nene Dorgeles producing a moment of magic to put Mali ahead from about 20 yards out.

Despite conceding, Fae’s side remained resilient and took the game to the Malins before getting an equaliser of their own through substitute Simon Adingra.

After a long pass downfield, Fofana fired a shot that deflected nicely for the substitute to score with nearly his first touch in the 90th minute.

The game then proceeded to extra time where the two teams continued to battle for the winner.

Sebastien Haller saw his effort come off the crossbar but there was no denying Diakite in the 120th minute as the winger’s cheeky flick ended up at the back of the net to put Ivory Coast ahead.

Mali failed to clear from a set piece and it fell nicely for Seko Fofana to drive low and powerfully, through the crowd of bodies – possibly via a deflection – before Diakite got the decisive flick which diverted it into the net.

The goalscorer was sent off after he took off his shirt in the celebration but the nine-man team were able to hold Mali off in the dying moments of the game to sail through to the last four.

Source:  Lawrence Degraft Baidoo  

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