AFCON 2023: Mali stun South Africa’s Bafana Bafana


In a captivating Group E opener at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium, South Africa suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Mali, extending the Eagles’ impressive unbeaten streak in Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) opening games to 13.

The match kicked off with intensity, as Amadou Haidara’s ambitious volley was thwarted by South African goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

Thapelo Maseko’s ventures down the left flank posed a threat, leading to a penalty for Bafana Bafana when Sikou Niakaté appeared to foul Evidence Makgopa.

However, Percy Tau’s spot-kick, taken with surprising inaccuracy, sailed into the heavens.

Mali seized control in the second half, with Koïta’s free-kick hitting the crossbar and captain Hamari Traoré reacting swiftly to open the scoring.

Lassine Sinayoko extended the lead six minutes later, capitalizing on a defensive lapse by Siyanda Xulu. Despite South Africa’s efforts to mount a comeback, they struggled to break through Mali’s resilient defense, leaving goalkeeper Diarra largely untested.

For Éric Chelle’s Mali, the victory marks a morale-boosting start to their AFCON campaign, aiming to overcome their record of playing the most AFCON matches (55) without clinching the tournament title.

Meanwhile, South Africa faces the challenge of regrouping and bouncing back in their upcoming fixtures to stay competitive in the tournament.

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