Mali recorded a narrow 1-0 victory over Tunisia in Limbé in Group F opener of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2021 in Cameroon.
Ibrahima Kone scored from the spot two minutes into the second half after Ellyes Joris Skhiri was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the area.
Veteran Captain of the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia, Wahbi Khazri failed to salvage a point for North Africans after he failed to convert from the spot.
The game was characterised by interesting scenes as referee Janny Sikazwe, who officiated at the 2018 World Cup, blew for the final whistle on minute 85 and then on 89.
The Malians were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages following El Bilal Toure’s heavy challenge on Skhiri but that did not deter the West Africans from dominating the proceedings in Limbé with their free-flowing football forcing the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia to sit deep.
Mali’s victory sends them to the top of Group F. The play their second match against The Gambia on 16 January.
Cote d’Ivoire show supremacy over Equatorial Guinea
Equatorial Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire faced off in Douala for the account of Group E Match Day 1 of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021.
The Nzalang Naciona demonstrated that they were no easy push-overs as they gave favorites Cote d’Ivoire a good run in an entertaining game at the Japoma Stadium in Douala on Wednesday.
Cote d’Ivoire prevailed with a solitary strike thanks to Max-Alain Gradel’s right footed shot from outside the box which found the top right corner of the net to beat Equatorial Guinea Keeper Manuel Mbara Sapunga in spectacular fashion.
Equatorial Guinea nearly found the equalizer, Basilio Ndong’s left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner by Badra Ali Sangare.
The Gambia record historic victory over Mauritania
The Scorpions of Gambia recorded a historic feat by winning their first match for their first appearance in AFCON finals.
Midfielder Seraing entered the history books of Gambian football, scoring the only goal of the match. First achievement for The Gambia in TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Cameroon 2021.
The Scorpions started the game very strongly in Limbé, making the Mourabitounes doubt with a goal action from the tenth minute.
Barrow found Ablie Jallow who controled the ball from the right before putting a dry strike with his left foot into the net of goalkeeper Diop Babacar.
Gambia will play Mali next as Mauritania face off North African powerhouse Tunisia who are eager to pick points to make a position in Group F.
GROUP RESULTS AND STANDINGS