AFCON 2023: Mali edge Burkina Faso in thrilling round of 16 clash

Mali are through to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 quarter-finals after a nail-biting 2-1 win over Burkina Faso on Tuesday in Korhogo.

An unfortunate own goal by Edmond Tabsoba along with a second-half strike by Lassine Sinayoko were enough for the Eagles to soar over the Stallions at a packed Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium.

It took just 3 minutes for Mali to take the lead after a powerful Amadou Haidara header came off the woodwork, but instead of it being cleared away, Edmond Tabsoba was unfortunate to see his clearance go into his own net.

Minutes later, Kamory Doumbia, who was a handful for the Burkinabe defense almost doubled his side’s lead after a great build-up saw him through on goal, but his effort was denied by the advancing Kouakou Koffi.

A golden opportunity fell the way of the in-form Sinayoko to double the lead after doing well to turn his marker to unleash a powerful effort that was denied by the alert Koffi in the 35th minute.

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Carried by the momentum, the Eagles continued surging forward but wasted numerous opportunities as they took the slender lead into the break.

Returning from the recess, Sinayoko capitalized on a lapse of concentration after beating the offside trap to face the keeper and comfortably slot home with just minutes into the restart.

A lifeline was given to the Stallions after Mohamed Konate’s headed effort came off the arm of Boubacar Kouyate for VAR to award the penalty that was converted by skipper, Bertrand Traore in the 57th minute.

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The Stallions eventually gained their rhythm and piled on the pressure, but a resolute Mali defence kept them at bay, as the Eagles soar into the quarter-finals to face tournament hosts, Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday, 3 February in Bouake.

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