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Final score flatters Rwanda as Mali lay siege to the Amavubi bunker in 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory

Even without being able to host their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying home opener against Rwanda, it was no problem for a dominant Mali side with only outstanding goalkeeping and poor finishing keeping Les Aigles from inflicting a more decisive defeat against Amavubi. Mali won 1-0 courtesy of a goal from Sheriff Tiraspol forward Adama Traore to set the pace in Group E and establish themselves as the firm favorites to advance among Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda.

Rwanda manager Vincent Mashami has received his fair share of criticism for not attacking more with his side, and Wednesday’s defeat will not relieve that pressure as Amavubi failed to register a shot on goal for the entire 90 minutes. The dominance came quickly for Mali with the midfield dominating and suffocating their opponents. The only force keeping Mali out was APR keeper Emery Mvuyekure, and he had work to do immediately by keeping out a free kick in the opening 15 minutes.

Only a few minutes later, it seemed Mali had their breakthrough when Southampton forward Moussa Djenepo got beyond Yannick Mukunzi and drew a foul in the penalty area for a penalty kick. Djenepo stepped up to take it himself but Mvuyekure heroically sprung to his right to parry the spot kick away. A minute later, however, Djenepo was back to work and sent Traore through with a pass, who did excellently to shrug off a defender while dribbling around Mvuyekure before applying a finish into the empty net.

The match lacked suspense from then on with the only question being how much were Mali going to win by. Mvuyekure was the Player of the Match despite his team being on the losing end, making multiple reflex saves from close and long range. However, there was no bite to the Rwandan attack and just like their recent Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, Rwanda will have an uphill battle to produce goals going forward.

Highlights of the match in the link below.

FIFA TV Highlights

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