Friday Sep 06, 2019. 12:00
Mali spoilt Africa Cup of Nations winning coach Herve Renard’s first match in charge of Saudi Arabia with a 1-1 draw in their friendly international in Dammam on Thursday night.
The Saudi hosts had to come from behind to draw the game, which served as warm-up for their opening Asian World Cup qualifier against Yemen on Tuesday.
Adama ‘Malouda’ Traore opened the scoring with a superb 37th minute effort.
The Metz midfielder picked up the ball on the halfway line, nutmegged an opponent and then ran down the middle before blasting home with his left foot.
The Saudis equalised eight minutes after half-time through Salem Al Dawsari.
Mali were playing an under strength side, having to do without the likes of Moussa Djenepo (Southampton), Moussa Doumbia (Stade Reims), Amadou Haidara (RB Leipzig), Youssouf Kone (Olympique Lyonnais), Moussa Marega (FC Porto) and Adama ‘Nos’ Traore from Metz.
The match marked the start of the fifth different national team job for Renard, who has also coached the national teams of Zambia (twice), Angola, the Ivory Coast and Morocco. He quit Morocco after their surprise elimination in the last 16 of the Cup of Nations finals in Morocco.
On Friday, Morocco host Burkina Faso and Tunisia host Mauritania in friendly internationals while the Ivory Coast taken on Benin in Caen, France.