Mali 2-1 Burkina Faso: Traoré penalty not enough as Mali progress to AFCON quarterfinals

With Mali seeking to seal their participation in the quarterfinals of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, the Eagles would first have to see off Burkina Faso if they were to progress and face Côte d’Ivoire on Saturday.

MAL: Diarra; Sacko, Niakaté, Kouyaté, H Traore; Camara, Haidara, Coulibaly; Doumbia; A Traore, Sinayoko

BKF: Koffi; Yago, E Tapsoba, Dayo, Kaboré; Touré, Ouédraogo, Sangaré; A Tapsoba, Konaté, B Traore

It took just three minutes for Mali to seize the lead on Tuesday evening, as an own goal from Burkina Faso’s Edmond Tapsoba sent the Eagles soaring early on.

Mali should have perhaps doubled their lead before the interval given their numerous chances, but Lassine Sinayoko added an invaluable second goal in the 47th minute – finishing through the legs of Hervé Koffi to seemingly wrap up the victory.

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But after VAR found that Boubacar Kiki Kouyaté had handled Issa Kaboré’s cross into the box, the Stallions were afforded a lifeline, which was duly converted from the penalty spot by Bertrand Traore just before the hour mark.

In the dying seconds of regulation time, Burkina Faso thought that they’d drawn levels Issoufou Dayo headed home from a free-kick, though his goal was chalked off for offside and the Burkinabe weren’t able to find an equaliser in the eight minutes of additional time.

Victory for Mali means the Eagles reach the quarterfinal stage of the tournament for the first time since 2023. They’ll have to see off the hosts, Côte d’Ivoire, on Saturday if they plan to make the semifinals.