Thursday Oct 07, 2021. 23:16
Mali crushed Kenya 5-0 at the Agadir Stadium in Morocco on Thursday night to take control of Group E in Africa’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers, with Ibrahima Kone netting a hat-trick.
The result sees the Eagles reclaim top spot on the log with seven points, after Uganda had earlier moved into first place on five points thanks to their 1-0 win away to Rwanda. The Harambee Stars are third on two points, with the Amavubi bottom of the log on one point.
Mali got off to a flyer and were two goals up inside the opening quarter of the match. Ibrahima Kone was the key figure for the Eagles, setting up Adama N. Traore to fire an effort beyond Kenya goalkeeper Ian Otieno in just the eight minute.
Kone then got himself on the score sheet in the 22nd minute, capitalising on some awful defending from the visitors before beating Otieno with aplomb to put the West African side in total control.
In between the goals, Mali did suffer an injury blow which saw Mamadou Fofana replace Kiki Kouyate just 16 minutes into the match.
Kone continued his excellence and racked up a third goal for Mali on 36 minutes, turning home Falaye Sacko’s assist to establish a 3-0 advantage, before the Norwegian-based forward completed his hat-trick on the stroke of half-time, firing home from a penalty to see the Eagles four goals up at the interval.
Kenya, having made four changes by the hour mark – including replacing goalkeeper Otieno with Farouk Shikalo – managed to stem the tide and keep the score down to 4-0 for most of the second half, though their own attacking ambitions were limited to long-range efforts.
Lone striker Michael Olunga had to feed off scraps and Mali goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro had only two comfortable saves to make through the whole 90 minutes, underlining the control enjoyed by the ‘hosts’, who have been forced to hold their home games away from Bamako on the order of CAF inspectors.
Mali added a fifth goal on 85 minutes, with Adama M. Traore setting up substitute Moussa Doumbia to score and complete a rout of the Harambee Stars.
The teams will meet in the reverse fixture at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Sunday 10 October.
Mali (4) 5 (A.N. Traore 8’, Kone 22’ 36’ 45’ pen, Doumbia 85’)
Mali: Mounkoro, H. Traore, Sacko (Sissako 62’), Kouyate (Fofana 16’), C. Traore, Camara, A.M. Traore, Haidara, Djenepo (Doumbia 74’), A.N. Traore (Sinayoko 74’), Kone (Toure 62’)
Kenya: I. Otieno (Shikalo 46’), Onyango (Abdallah 34’), Okumu, Omurwa, E. Otieno (Abuya 78’), Meja (Muchiri 59’), Muguna, Khamis, Odada, Juma (Zakayo 34’), Olunga