CHAN: Mali shock Tunisia, debutants Guinea skip past Zambia

By alex wafula
Jan 31, 2016
  • Aliou Dieng celebrates after converting a penalty, a goal that crushed the Tunisians.(Photo by Alex Wafula)

Abdoulaye Diarra scored the winner with ten minutes to go at the Regional Stadium in Kigali as Mali shocked Tunisia 2-1 to book a date with Ivory Coast in the semi-finals of the 2016 African Nations Championships (CHAN) on Sunday.

At the Umuganda Stadium in Rubavu, goalkeeper Abdoul Aziz Keita was the hero, saving two penalties and scoring the winner as debutants Guinea beat Zambia 5-4 on penalties. Chris Katongo, the Chipolopolo’s influential skipper started off the kicks on a disastrous note for Zambia, the captain sent his kick straight through the middle but Keita managed to keep it out with his feet.

Ibrahima Sory Bangoura put Guinea ahead, sending Jacob Banda the wrong way. Buchizya Mfune then kept Zambia in the chase, slotting home his kick.

Guinea got Zambia back into the game with Banda saving Ibrahima Sory Sankhon’s attempt. Stephen Kabamba however could not make much use of the advantage as he skied his attempt.

Mohammed Youla also skied his effort for Guinea and Kabamba breathed a huge sigh of relief as he watched, his hands on his head.

Clatous Chama for Zambia and Daouda Camara for Guinea made sure the game went into sudden death. Both sides scored their first kicks through Adrian Chama and Ibrahima Sory Soumah.

However, Keita saved Daut Musekwa's attempt and stepped forward to convert to give Guinea a 5-4 win after penalties.

Tunisia's fail to capitalise on experience 

At the Regional Stadium in Nyamirambo, Tunisia outright favorites to move into the last four with the experience they carried in their side.

They came up against a relatively young Mali side with a number of their players having featured at the Under-17 World Cup in Chile.

Despite having a poor first half largely dominated by the North Africans, Mali came back a rejuvenated lot in the second half, scoring both goals and booking a date with Ivory Coast in the semi-finals.

Mali coach Djibril Drame disclosed after the match that an honest half time pep-talk changed the phase of the game.

“We know what we can do and we knew we had a way to deal with Tunisia. At half time, I talked to them strongly and we had a tactic, to frustrate Tunisia off the ball and force them not to play. We succeeded and won,” Drame said.

Mali had their first chance of the match in the 13th minute, Abdoulaye Diarra weaving into the box but his eventual shot was saved for a corner by keeper Rami Jeridi. Immediately after picking up the corner, Jeridi played a one-time ball over to the left side of Tunisia’s attack, Ahmed Akaichi winning it and spraying it wide to Said Bguir.

The speedy winger put himself in a comfortable position before crossing for Mohammed Ali Monser to head in inside the box.

Mali though were not cowed by the early goal and tried to build up and equalize. However, they kept losing many balls in midfield, Tunisia using their experience to guard their slim lead.

Ali Moulul came close to a second but he forced Mali keeper Djigui Diarra to a fine save after playing a beautiful interchange of passes with Ahmed Akaichi.

Mali’s approach in the second half was purely attacking.

Nineteen year old Sekou Koita had a superb opportunity in the 63rd minute with Jeridi one on one but his attempt with an audacious chip was futile, the ball going over the bar.

However, Aliou Dieng atoned for that miss in the 69th minute, converting from the penalty spot after Zied Boughattas handled the ball after being taken to the cleaners by Mamadou Coulibaly.

While Mali picked up the tempo, Tunisia were dying down and their fitness levels slowly came down.

Ten minutes to time, Abdoulaye Diarra pulled a decent low shot from the right after exchanging passes with Koita, Tunisia keeper Remi Jeridi well beaten.

The next two days will be rest days but there is no break for the top four who will be fighting to get into the February 8 final. DR Congo takes on Guinea on Wednesday while Mali face off with Ivory Coast on Thursday.

Groups and Results Group A: Rwanda, Gabon, Morocco, Ivory Coast January 16: Rwanda 1 Ivory Coast 0, Gabon 0 Morocco 0; January 20: Rwanda 2 Gabon 1, Morocco 0 Ivory Coast 1; January 24; Morocco 4 Rwanda 1, Ivory Coast 4 Gabon 1.

Group B: DR Congo, Angola, Cameroon, Ethiopia January 17: DR Congo 3 Ethiopia 0, Angola 0 Cameroon 1; January 21; DR Congo 4 Angola 2, Ethiopia 0 Cameroon 0; January 25; Ethiopia 1 Angola 2, Cameroon 3 DR Congo 1.

Group C: Tunisia, Nigeria, Niger, Guinea January 18: Tunisia 2 Guinea 2, Nigeria 4 Niger 1; January 21; Nigeria 1 Tunisia 1, Guinea 2 Niger 2; January 26: Guinea 1 Nigeria 0, Niger 0 Tunisia 5.

Group D: Zimbabwe, Mali, Uganda, Zambia January 19: Zimbabwe 0 Zambia 1, Mali 2 Uganda 2; January 23: Zimbabwe 0 Mali 1, Uganda 0 Zambia 1; January 27: Zambia 0 Mali 0, Uganda 1 Zimbabwe 1.

Quarter finals; January 30: Match 25. Rwanda 1 DR Congo 2 (Amahoro), Match 26. Cameroon 0 Ivory Coast 3 (Huye); January 31: Match 27: Tunisia 1 Mali 2 (Nyamirambo); Match 28 Zambia 0 (4) Guinea 0 (5) AET (Rubavu) Remaining fixtures: February 3: Semi-finals; DR Congo v Guinea (Amahoro) February 4: Mali v Ivory Coast (Amahoro) February 8: Play off, Final (Amahoro).