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South Africa 1-1 Mali


Igesund: Kicked every ball

Igesund: Kicked every ball

Mali booked their place in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals thanks to a penalty shoot-out victory over South Africa after Saturday's Moses Mabhida Stadium clash ended 1-1 after 120 minutes.


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Tokelo Rantie had put Bafana Bafana ahead after 31 minutes, but Seydou Keita levelled matters two minutes before the hour mark to force extra-time.

After a goalless extra-time, penalties were needed to decide the quarter-final tie, and three Bafana misses meant Mali would go through to the semis, where they will face either the Ivory Coast or Nigeria.

Both sides looked lively in the opening stages, although the Eagles came closest in the first 10 minutes as Seydou Keita unleashed a blistering effort on the half-volley, but the ball was always rising and didn't trouble Itumeleng Khune.

Bafana soon had two really good chances to take the lead, with May Mahlangu first breaking down the left wing and pulling the ball back for Reneilwe Letsholonyane, but he dawdled in possession and a good shooting opportunity was closed down.

Moments later the host nation attacked down the other flank, with Thuso Phala whipping in a devilish delivery, but Mahlangu couldn't make a proper connection with his head and sent the ball wide.

Gordon Igesund's men continued to enjoy the better chances, and it took a vital save from Soumaila Diakite to prevent Rantie from scoring after he had been playing in behind the defenders.

Mali almost snuck the lead on 30 minutes as Adama Tamboura picked up the ball on the half-way line and ran through at goal before clipping a delivery into the area, and although it looked like he intended to cross, the ball swerved dangerously towards goal, although a diving Khune was relieved to see the ball sail just over the crossbar.

Moments later South Africa were in front, May Mahlangu feeding the ball to Thuso Phala in the area, and although he completely mis-kicked his effort, the ball fell perfectly for Tokelo Rantie, who swept home into an empty net.

Mali had a great chance to level the scores shortly before the break as Samba Sow was teed up on the edge of the area with acres of space, but he fired his shot miles over the crossbar when really he should have at least test Khune in goal.

Bafana continued to boss the ball in the opening stages of the second-half, but it was Mali who found the next goal as Mahamadou Samassa trotted down the wing before curling the ball into the area, and a completely flat-footed Bafana defence allowed Keita to run through unchallenged to head home off Khune.

The Eagles almost went in front moments later as a weak pass at the back allowed Samassa to break through on goal, but Khune did really well to make himself big to thwart the forward's shot from a tight angle.

Chances became few and far between as the second-half wore on, although Mahlangu did manage to test Soumaila Diakite with a rasping drive, but the goalkeeper was well placed at the near-post and got down to make a comfortable save in the end.

The sides could not be separated at the 90 minute mark as the game went to extra-time, while the first-half of the additional 30 minutes produced little in the way of goal-scoring opportunities.

Mali had a good chance to snatch the win with 10 minutes remaining now as the ball was pulled back to the edge of the area for Mahamane Traore, but it was just behind him and he couldn't get a proper connection, allowing the defence to lump the ball clear.

The second period of extra-time was littered with free-kicks and corners, but the deliveries were lacking in every department, with the majority of deliveries flying behind for goal-kicks as the match went to penalties.

Posted: 02/02/13 21:20

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