Mali narrowly defeats Burkina Faso in an exhilarating round of 16 encounter.

Mali narrowly defeats Burkina Faso in an exhilarating round of 16 encounter.

Amadou Haidara and his Mali teammates celebrated a crucial victory in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Finals, securing a spot in the quarter-finals by defeating Burkina Faso 2-1 at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on January 30, 2024, as captured by ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix.

Mali’s journey to the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Cote d’Ivoire 2023 quarter-finals unfolded in a tense encounter against Burkina Faso.

An early lead came in the third minute when Amadou Haidara’s powerful header hit the woodwork and, in an unfortunate turn, Edmond Tabsoba’s attempt to clear resulted in an own goal.

Kamory Doumbia nearly doubled the lead for Mali shortly afterward, putting pressure on the Burkinabe defense, but Kouakou Koffi’s swift intervention denied the opportunity. Lassine Sinayoko had a golden chance to extend the lead in the 35th minute, but Koffi made a crucial save.

Entering the second half, Sinayoko seized a moment of defensive lapse, bypassing the offside trap to comfortably slot home, extending Mali’s lead.

Burkina Faso earned a lifeline when Mohamed Konate’s header led to a VAR-awarded penalty, converted by skipper Bertrand Traore in the 57th minute.

Despite the Stallions increasing their pressure, Mali’s steadfast defense held firm, securing their place in the quarter-finals. They are set to face tournament hosts Cote d’Ivoire on Saturday, February 3, in Bouake.

Reflecting on the match, Burkina Faso Coach Hubert Velud acknowledged Mali’s superiority, praising their quality and the strength of their midfield. He emphasized the openness of the AFCON tournament, expressing disappointment at their exit but recognizing the overall high level of football and organization.

Mali Coach Eric Chelle, in contrast, stressed the importance of humility in victory and the need for continued hard work. He expressed happiness for the players, highlighting their deserving victory. Looking ahead to the quarter-finals against Cote d’Ivoire, Chelle acknowledged the difficulty of the upcoming challenge but affirmed Mali’s commitment to bringing their quality and best effort to the match.

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