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Mali 1-2 Ivory Coast: AFCON Man of the Match and Player Ratings

Ivory Coast
© Ace Football

Ivory Coast completed a miraculous comeback to reach the AFCON semi-finals.

Ivory Coast defeated Mali in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals on Saturday. A 125th-minute goal from Hamari Traore sent the hosts to the next round.

What happened?

Ivory Coast struggled to find their feet early on as Mali dominated the possession. The visitors missed a penalty through Adama Traore but kept Ivory Coast under enough pressure to finally change the course of the game two minutes before the break. Ivory Coast’s Odilion Kossounou was sent off with a straight red card, forcing the hosts to play the rest of the game with ten players.

After the break, the pace of the game increased dramatically, with Mali finally breaking the deadlock in the 71st minute. A stunning strike from Nene Dorgeles made it 1-0 for Mali as their attacking efforts finally paid off.

The visitors looked to be on their way to winning the game as Ivory Coast players grew more and more exhausted. But the hosts refused to give up and got back into the game with a 90th-minute goal from Simon Adingra.

During the extra time, Ivory Coast maintained their attacking edge as Mali players grew increasingly frustrated. Ivory Coast’s sensational comeback was finally completed when Sesko Fofana’s shot from behind the box was nodded into the back of the net with a small touch from Oumar Diakite. The Ivory Coast hero was then sent off with a second yellow card for taking off his shirt during the goal celebration.

Mali vs Ivory Coast: Man of the Match

Sesko Fofana deserves the Man of the Match title for his incredible display against Mali. The Ivorian midfielder relentlessly engaged in aerial and ground duels in midfield before directly contributing to the match-winning goal.

Player Ratings

Mali: Diarra (5), H. Traore (6), Kouyate (7), Niakate (6), Sacko (7), Coulibaly (6), Samassekou (7), Haidara (6), Doumbia (6), Sinayoko (7), A. Traore (5).

Bench: Diabate (6), Dorgeles (7), M. Fofana (5), B. Traore (6), Bissouma (6), Sissoko (5).

Ivory Coast: Y. Fofana (7), Aurier (6), Kossounou (4), Ndicka (6), Konan (5), Seri (7), Kessie (6), Pepe (6), S. Fofana (7), Gradel (6), Kouame (5).

Bench: Singo (7), Boly (6), Haller (6), Diakite (7), Adingra (7).