Mali started their campaign on Monday at the 2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations in Algeria with three points following a 1-0 Group C victory over Burkina Faso in Annaba. Mamadou Doumbia’s excellent finish in the first half was the only goal for the Eaglets who earn three important points in a group that was reduced to three teams due to South Sudan’s disqualification. Mali face Cameroon next on Thursday in their only other group stage match while Burkina Faso will wait until Sunday for their duel with Cameroon in a match where Les Étalons need a positive result.
Burkina Faso nearly got off to a dream start in the opening minute. A pass from midfield sent forward Souleymane Alio in alone on goal but Mali goalkeeper Bourama Koné did excellently to close down the angle and make the save on Alio’s shot attempt. The Burkinabè team paid the price for failing to convert when Mali opened the scoring in the 25th minute. A pass from Ange Martial Tia found Mamadou Doumbia in the Burkinabè penalty area, whose excellent first touch created room to fire past keeper Isidore Mohamed Traoré.
The goal was deserved for Mali who remained in control for the rest of the first half and the early stages of the second half. After the hour mark Burkina Faso improved their performance and produced three dangerous chances including a shot from Lassina Traoré that brushed the side netting in the 72nd minute.
Both teams traded opportunities but the quality of finishing was lacking. An excellent run and cross from Mali winger Ibrahim Kanaté set up an open shot for Ibrahim Diarra but attacker’s shot went wide. It was a nervous end to the match for the Malian defense but Les Aiglonnets held on to secure the victory.
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