An excited and loud support in the Malian capital of Bamako saw Les Aigles jump on the Republic of Congo early and often, scoring four goals in the opening forty minute to stomp Les Diables Rouges 4-0 in their 2023 AFCON qualifying opener on Saturday. Mohamed Camara scored in the first minute, El Bilal Touré scored twice and Kalifa Coulibaly finished off a decisive victory for the hosts who will face South Sudan in Uganda for their next fixture. Meanwhile, a dejected Congolese team will look to get their campaign on track when they host Gambia in Brazzaville.
The visitors were prepared for a difficult match on the road against one of Africa’s strongest national sides but they were powerless to resist the wave of attacks which started immediately after kick off. Camara fired in a mighty strike after only 38 seconds when a cross was cleared out just beyond the edge of the area and Republic of Congo knew it was going to be a rough night.
Yves Bissouma did not get on the score sheet but he was at his best throughout. The Brighton midfielder created the second goal and Touré’s first in the 10th minute when he collected the ball outside the corner of the Congolese penalty area, mesmerized a defender with his dribbling moves and then crossed to find an onrushing Touré for an easy finish from close range. Touré added his second in the 40th when high pressure caused an errant pass to go to the Stade Reims forward and he unleashed a scorching shot to leave Congolese keeper Christoffer Mafoumbi with no chance.
Mali’s fourth came through Bissouma again to complete a dominant first half that left Republic of Congo with no chance to come back. Once again the midfielder created space on the right flank before sending in a perfect cross for Coulibaly to dive onto with a powerful bouncing header beyond the reach of the sprawling Maffoumbi.
Video of the goals are below.