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Ruthless Mali cruise to easy road win at Rwanda courtesy of early red card, clinch spot in final round of WCQ

A business-like performance from Mali saw Les Aigles clinch a spot in the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying with a 3-0 victory in Kigali against Rwanda on Thursday. Moussa Djenepo and Ibrahima Kone scored within the opening twenty minutes after a 7th minute red card against the hosts before Kalifa Coulibaly finished the scoring late for the visitors. With the victory and three points, Mali move beyond the reach of second placed Uganda and clinch a spot in the final round before the two teams meet in Morocco on Sunday.

There was little doubt about who would get the victory after ten minutes when Rwanda were reduced to ten players. Defensive midfielder Djihad Bizimana committed a poor first touch as Rwanda attempted to pass in the back, and Kone pounced on the loose ball. With nobody between Kone and the goal, Bizimana dragged the forward down and eventually was given a red card for denying a clear goal scoring opportunity.

Any hope for Rwandan (and Ugandan) fans was gone after Bizimana’s dismissal, and Mali made the hosts pay soon after. In the 19th minute, Southampton attacker Djenepo cut inside from the left wing and unleashed a shot from 21 yards out that bounced beyond Rwanda keeper Mvuyekure and into the goal off the far post.

It only got worse for Rwanda a minute later. While passing around in the back, another costly error occurred as Mvuyekure tried to hit a pass first time, with the ball going right to Kone. The Sarpsborg forward, in incredible form when playing for Mali, made no mistake as he collected the ball and lashed a shot past the helpless Mvuyekure to make it 2-0.

Rwanda failed to generate any offense going forward with the numerical disadvantage, and it was easy going for the Malians throughout the remainder of the ninety minutes. Late on, substitute Coulibaly battled with a Rwandan defender and won the ball about 35 yards away from goal before striking a thunderbolt of a shot that breezed past Mvuyekure to finish the scoring. When the final whistle sounded, it was celebration time for Les Aigles with the result clinching their spot in the final round of qualification.

Highlights of the match are in the button link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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