Wednesday Aug 28, 2019. 12:00
Nigeria and Burkina Faso will fight it out for the gold medals at the 2019 African Games in Morocco after wining their respective semifinals against Mali and Senegal (both via penalties) on Tuesday.
The first semifinal between Nigeria and Mali ended goalless, though their was no lack of drama, with the Flying Eagles seemingly throwing away a chance to advance into the gold medal match when captain Ibrahim Abubakar missed a spot kick during regulation time.
However, Paul Aigbogun’s side held their nerve in the shootout and goalkeeper Detan Ogundare saved several of Mali’s penalties to secure a 5-4 victory.
Burkina Faso scored something of an upset by defeating defending champions Senegal in the second match on Tuesday, holding the young Teranga Lions 1-1 before they too advanced via a penalty shootout.
African Games results, Tuesday 27 August
Mali 0-0 Nigeria – Nigeria won 5-4 on penalties
Senegal 1-1 Burkina Faso – Burkina Faso won 5-4 on penalties
Detan Ogundare – The Nigerian goalkeeper made the all-important save in the penalty shootout against Mali, securing his side a place in the African Games final.
Top quote following the semifinals
“We have a chance to make history on Friday [in the gold medal match]. The players have done well, but we need to raise our game one more time.” – Nigeria coach Paul Aigbogun.
How the tournament will wrap up
The bronze medal match takes place tomorrow (Thursday 29 August) at the Municipal Stadium in Mansouria, with Mali and Senegal meeting for the second time: they first clashed in a Group B match at the venue on 17 August which ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
The final, which will decide the gold and silver medals, will be played on Friday 30 August at the Boubker Aamar Stadium in Rabat between Burkina Faso and Nigeria. They too have met already in the tournament, playing out a 1-1 draw in the opening Group A match on August 16. Ahmad Ghali scored for the Flying Eagles, while Kalifa Nikiema equalised for the Burkinabe.
African Games remaining fixtures
Thursday 29 August: Bronze medal match, Mali v Senegal, 16:00 CAT
Friday 30 August: Gold medal match, Burkina Faso v Nigeria, 17:00 CAT