AFCON: Mali Stun South Africa In Group E Opener

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CAPTAIN Hamari Traore and Lassine Sinayoko scored within six second-half minutes to give Mali a 2-0 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group E victory on Tuesday over South Africa, who missed a penalty.

Percy Tau fired a spot-kick wide in the opening half in Korhogo and it proved a costly miss as the clinical Eagles were never in danger after netting twice.

Victory took Mali to the top of the group on goal difference from Namibia, who equally shocked Tunisia 1-0 in the first match of a doubleheader.

Mali are a bogey team for South Africa, having twice eliminated them in the quarter-finals in previous Cup of Nations meetings.

The Malians came closest to winning the African showpiece in their 1972 debut as they reached the final before losing 3-2 to Congo Brazzaville in Yaounde.

South Africa did better in their first appearance 24 years later, defeating Tunisia 2-0 in the final in Johannesburg, but have not lifted the trophy again in nine subsequent appearances.

While Mali did not have a single home-based player in the starting line-up, South Africa chose nine, including seven from domestic giants Mamelodi Sundowns.

The mainly Mali-supporting crowd in the 20,000-capacity stadium built in the northern city for the AFCON saw a lively end-to-end start to a much-anticipated showdown.

 

Eighteen-Eleven Media

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