Moussa Marega of Mali celebrates scoring a penalty with teammates during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Mali and Mauritania at Suez Army Stadium, Suez, Egypt on 24 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Tuesday Jun 25, 2019. 00:05
Mali hammered Mauritania 4-1 in their maiden 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Group E match at the Suez Stadium in Egypt on Monday night.
The Lions of Chinguetti, who were making their debut in the Afcon finals, were able to contain the Eagles in the opening stages of the encounter.
Mali were forced to try their luck from range as the Mauritania defence looked solid and impenetrable.
However, the Eagles upped the tempo after the half-hour mark and they managed to break the deadlock through Abdoulaye Diaby.
The Sporting Lisbon forward scored with a left-footed shot from outside the box to make it 1-0 to Mali in the 37th minute.
The momentum was with the Eagles and they were awarded a penalty after Lassana Coulibaly drew a foul in the box on the stroke of half-time.
Moussa Marega then stepped up and beat Souleymane from the spot-kick to make it 2-0 to Mali heading into the half-time break.
The Eagles continued their dominance after the restart and in the 55th minute, they extended their lead through Adama Traore II.
The 23-year-old midfielder netted with a left-footed shot from the centre of the box to make it 3-0 to Mali with Diadie Samassekou grabbing an assist.
The Lions of Chinguetti then fought back and they were awarded a penalty which was conceded by Mamadou Fofana in the 71st minute.
Moctar Sidi El Hacen then made no mistake from the spot-kick as he beat Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra from the spot-kick to make it 3-1 for Mauritania.
However, Mali responded with a goal when second-half substitute Adama Traore I scored with a well-taken shot to make it 4-1 with 17 minutes left on the clock.
Mauritania pushed for another goal in the latter stages of the encounter, but Mali held on to their three-goal lead and they emerged 4-1 winners on the night.
Mali (2) 4 (Diaby 37', Marega 45', Adama Traore II 55, Adama Traore I 73')
Mauritania (0) 1 (El Hacen 72')
Mali: Djigui Diarra, Wague, H. Traore, Kone, Fofana, Samassekou, Coulibaly, Djenepo (Doumbia 61'), Adama Traore II (Adama Traore I 61'), Marega, Diaby (Haidara 87').
Mauritania: Souleymane, Abou Demba (Diaw 53'), Abeid, Abdoul Ba, N'Diaye, Adama Ba, Camara (Gaye 82'), Coulibaly (Khalil 46'), El Hacen, Dellahi, Diakie.