Massadio Haidara of Mali celebrates scoring the opening goal during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Mali v Mauritania at Japoma Stadium in Douala, Cameroon on 20 January 2022. ©Alain Guy Suffo/BackpagePix
Thursday Jan 20, 2022. 22:45
The Eagles got off to the perfect start as they broke the deadlock just two minutes into the encounter through France-based defender Massadio Haidara after a good move by Mohamed Magassouba’s side.
A deflected cross right was turned home by Haidara from inside the box – beating goalkeeper Babacar Diop to hand Mali a 1-0 lead after the Lions of Chinguetti’s defence was exposed.
Mali dominated possession with Yves Bissiouma pulling the strings from the middle of the park as the 1972 AFCON runners-up looked to double their lead.
However, Mauritania were able to contain their neighbours and Mali were leading 1-0 at the interval courtesy of Massadio Haidara’s early goal.
The Eagles continued to control the match after the restart and they were awarded a penalty after Souleymane Karamoko had committed a foul in the box.
Ibrahima Kone then stepped up and scored his third goal from the penalty spot in this year’s tournament – extending Mali’s lead to 2-0 in the process four minutes into the second-half.
Didier Gomes Da Rosa, the Mali head coach, decided to make a double substitution – introducing Adama Ba and 16-year-old sensation Beyatt Lekweiry as the Lions of Chinguetti looked to pull on back.
However, the duo could not change the complexion of the game as Mali continued to dominate possession until match referee Bernard Camille blew the final whistle and Mali ran out 2-0 winners.
Mali (1) 2 (M. Haidara 2′, Kone 49′)
Mauritania (0) 0
Mali: Mounkoro, H. Traoré (Sissako 64′), Kouyate, Sacko, M.Haidara, A.M.Traore (Sinayoko 74′), Bissouma (M, Camara 63′), A.N.Traore, A.Haidara (Dieng 82′), Doumbia, Kone (Coulibaly 75′).
Mauritania: Diop (N’Diaye 81′), Harouna (Karamoko 39′), Dellahi, Aly Abeid, Houssen,Guessouma, Soueid (Lekweiry 62′), Mohsen, Idrissa (Yacoub 81′), Oumar (A. Ba 61′), Ibnou Ba.