February 03, (THEWILL) – The Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final between Ivory Coast and Mali, descended into a dramatic extra-time thriller on Saturday, with the host nation booking their place in the tournament’s last four, thanks to a spirited late comeback. Despite being reduced to 10 men in the first half, Ivory Coast showed tremendous fighting spirit to turn the game on its head in the dying moments.
Mali controlled the early proceedings and were awarded a 16th minute penalty, only for goalkeeper, Yahia Fofana, to save Adama Traore’s effort from 12 yards. The complexion of the match changed in the 44th minute when Ivory Coast’s Odilon Kossounou was shown a second yellow card.
With a numerical advantage, Mali upped the ante after the break and finally made the breakthrough in the 71st minute courtesy of a thunderous long-range strike from Nene Dorgeles. However, Ivory Coast dramatically levelled through substitute, Simon Adingra, in the 90th minute to force 30 minutes of extra time.
The additional period provided even more twists and turns before Oumar Diakite secured victory for the brave 10-man Ivory Coast with a clever flicked finish in the 120th minute, sparking scenes of jubilation inside Stade Bouake.
It was an heroic display from The Elephants, who displayed tremendous determination and resolve to overcome the odds and book a semi-final date with DR Congo. Malian hearts were ultimately broken by the late sucker punch.
About the Author
Jude Obafemi is a versatile senior Correspondent at THEWILL Newspapers, excelling in sourcing, researching, and delivering sports news stories for both print and digital publications.