Soccer-Mali ease past Mauritania to claim top spot


Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations - Group F - Mali v Mauritania - Stade de Japoma, Douala, Cameroon - January 20, 2022 Mali players celebrate with their fans after the match REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

DOUALA, Cameroon (Reuters) - Left back Massadio Haidara’s early goal set Mali on their way to a comfortable 2-0 victory over Mauritania on Thursday and top spot in Africa Cup of Nations Group F.

Haidara scored the fastest goal of the tournament as he netted after 92 seconds, before Mali added a second via the penalty spot through striker Ibrahima Kone, who scored for the third game in a row.

Mali finished the group stage with seven points, ahead of second-placed Gambia on goal difference. They were joined in the second round by Tunisia after the north Africans finished as one of the best third-placed sides.

Mali meet Equatorial Guinea in the second round in Limbe on Wednesday. They are seeking a first Cup of Nations trophy win having finished runners-up the last time the tournament was played in Cameroon in 1972.

Mauritania offered little in attack and even when trailing by two goals seemed hesitant to come forward.

They allowed Mali to play in first gear for much of the match and while it was certainly not a vintage performance from Mohamed Magassouba’s side, he will be pleased with their efficiency.

They settled their nerves early on when Moussa Doumbia's cross from the right found an unmarked Massadio Haidara at the back post and he steered the ball past Mauritania goalkeeper Babacar Diop.

Diop made a smart save from close-range to deny Kone as Mali kept on the pressure without reward, and it took until shortly after halftime for them to get their second.

They were awarded a penalty when Doumbia was upended in the box by Mauritania substitute Souleymane Karamoko.

Kone converted a powerful spot-kick for his third goal of the tournament, all of them penalties.

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Football

Soccer-Maradona tribute plane unveiled in Argentina
Soccer-Cup final defeat is bitter disappointment for Feyenoord
Soccer-'It is truly special' - emotional Mourinho revels in more European glory
Soccer-Zaniolo goal earns Roma first Europa Conference League title
Soccer-Mkhitaryan fit to start for Roma as Mourinho eyes unique trophy haul
Soccer-Kompany ends managerial role with Anderlecht
Soccer-AC Milan's Pioli gets Serie A winners' medal back
Soccer-'No better way to say goodbye than Scudetto': Kessie to leave AC Milan
Pan-gon gives out good vibes, says Davies
Soccer-Liverpool parade timing jars with Heysel victim's son

Others Also Read