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U-23 AFCON: Adel lifts Egypt over 10-man Mali

Pyramids FC attacker Ibrahim Adel struck inside ten minutes to give Egypt their first goal and victory in a 1-0 Group B victory over Mali on Wednesday at the 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations. Egypt held on for a victory against the Malian team who were reduced to ten players following the expulsion of Mamady Diambou for a second yellow card early in the second half. The Pharaohs are now at the top of Group B, one point above Mali with one match remaining for both teams on Saturday.

A disappointing scoreless draw against Niger in their opening match led to an inspired start from the Egyptians who snatched the lead in the 10th minute. Striker Osama Faisal approached the Malian penalty area with the ball and patiently waited before passing into the path of Adel who fired an excellent finish into the top corner past Mali goalkeeper Lassine Diarra.

The match was even for long stretches but the Egyptian team did well to restrict the Malian attack with hard work and defensive pressure in the midfield. Just when Mali began to create opportunities after halftime the Eagles suffered a setback. Mali forward Cheickna Doumbia jumped to meet a floated ball into the box with a header that hit the crossbar and went over but the referee spotted a forearm from Diambou into the upper body of Faisal, resulting in Diambou’s second yellow card and dismissal.

Egypt should have extended their lead but despite the creative efforts of Adel, his teammates failed to finish including Al Ahly midfielder Ahmed Kouka’s weak shot that was cleared off the line in the 72nd minute. However the Egyptian defense continued to keep the Malian attack under control and now Egypt can advance to the semifinals with a draw or victory against Gabon on Saturday. Mali will face Niger in their final Group B match played simultaneously.

Video of the winning goal from Adel is below.

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