AFCON: Mali Seal Comfortable Win Over Niger To Advance To Semi Finals

AFCON: Mali Seal Comfortable Win Over Niger To Advance To Semi Finals

By Spy Uganda

Mali’s U-23 national team reached the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies Africa U-23 Cup of Nations, Morocco 2023, after a commanding 2-0 victory over Niger on Saturday.

The match took place at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Sports Complex in Rabat as part of the third and final round of group stage matches of the competition in Morocco.

Finishing in second place in their group, Mali concluded the group stage with six points, behind group leaders Egypt with seven points.

Meanwhile, Niger secured the third spot with four points while group opponents Gabon finished at the bottom with no points.

Mali will now face the host country, Morocco, in the semi-finals in Rabat on Tuesday after the former secured their place in the last four after they won the match against Niger.

The first half of the game witnessed intense physicality from both teams, although there were few dangerous scoring opportunities. Not a single shot on target was recorded in the first period.

Mali was the first to threaten Niger’s defense when Mamadou Sangare unleashed a powerful shot that missed the target, resulting in a goal kick.

In the 39th minute, Niger’s defender Rahim Hassan’s strong strike narrowly missed the left post of Malian goalkeeper Lassana Diarra, denying his team-mate Abdoul Amoustafa a genuine chance to open the scoring.

Towards the end of the first half, Niger’s striker Boual Hassan attempted a powerful header towards the opponent’s goal, but it too sailed wide of the right post just before the break.

Mali entered the second half with determination, quickly breaking the deadlock in the 49th minute through a penalty kick converted by Mamadou Sangare, giving his side a 1-0 lead.

The early goal in the second half was a blow to Niger, who tried to equalize and intensified their attacks but failed to find the back of the net. Mali’s solid defense and overall organization across all lines proved formidable.

In the dying moments of the game, Mali further extended their lead in the 90th minute with a powerful strike from striker Cheickna Diawara, receiving a well-placed pass from the left side. The shot beat Niger’s goalkeeper, Naïm van Atteveld, making the score 2-0 in favour of Mali.

The match ended with Mali emerging victorious, securing their spot in the semi-finals and edging closer to realizing their dream of qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Meanwhile, Niger’s thrilling adventure in the competition came to an end during the group stage. an accessible web community

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