A late penalty by Idrissa Traore sent Mali into the African Nations Championship quarterfinals when they defeated Mozambique 2-1 at the Athlone Stadium on Sunday night.
Josemar had given the Mambas the lead heading into the halftime break but an equaliser by Ibourahima Sidibe early in the second half was the foundation of Mali’s comeback win.
Mali were quick off the blocks and signalled their intentions of winning the game early on as they threatened the Mozambicans twice inside the opening ten minutes of the match.
Firstly Adama Traore created space for himself and in the box and released a shot from inside the box but the ball was cleared off the line by the Mozambican defenders with the keeper Soares beaten.
Two minutes later Hamidou Sinayoko peeled off his marker with pace and unleashed a cracker of a shot from the edge of the box but it goes marginally high.
Mozambique then took the lead in the 38th minute through Josemar. The Mambas drew the Malian defence to the right side of their defence and then they played a ball across the field to an unmarked Josemar who controlled beautifully and unleashed a powerful shot which Malian Soumalia Diakite got a touch to but the ball hit the inside of the post and went in.
The Eagles immediately drew level from a free kick when Traore’s good strike beat Soares but the outstretched Mozambican keeper was thankful to have seen the ball brush the outside roof of the net.