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AFCON 2023: 10-man Ivory Coast produce miracle revival to eliminate Mali

2023 Africa Cup of Nations hosts Ivory Coast are through to the semifinals after Oumar Diakité flicked a shot from Seko Fofana into the goal to complete a 2-1 victory after extra time for the Elephants. The winner from Diakité arrived in the final seconds after Simon Adingra equalized in the final minutes of normal time for the hosts to cancel out the opening goal from Mali attacker Nene Dorgeles. Ivory Coast will face DR Congo in the semifinals in Abidjan on February 7.

The match was Mali’s to lose after the Eagles established firm control of the match early on with their excellent midfield. However, Mali struggled to take advantage even after a major opportunity arrived in the 16th minute when striker Lassine Sinayoko was taken down by Ivorian defender Odilon Kossounou in the penalty area which resulted in a penalty kick from Adama Traoré that was saved by Elephants goalkeeper Yahia Fofana.

Kossounou received a second yellow card soon before halftime and Mali continued to appear in control. In the 71st minute the breakthrough came for the Eagles when substitute Dorgeles had plenty of time on the ball and sent a splendid curling shot past Fofana from twenty yards. Desperation fueled the Ivorians who finally applied pressure to the Malian goal and found a lifeline late in the 90th minute when a Fofana shot ricocheted around the penalty area where Adingra pounced first to finish from close range.

The momentum was lost for Mali and it was an even battle in extra time with Ivory Coast having the best chance when Sébastien Haller headed a Wilfired Singo cross off the crossbar in the 96th minute. It appeared that penalty kicks would be needed to decide a winner but in the final seconds of the second half of extra time it was Diakité who was in the six-yard box to deflect a low shot from Fofana past Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra to spark scenes of pandemonium at the Stade de la Paix in Bouaké and confirm a semifinal place for the Elephants.

Highlights of the dramatic match are below.

Match Highlights

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