AFCON 2023: Mali eyes quarterfinals as Burkina Faso aims for upset


As the AFCON Round of 16 continues on Tuesday, all eyes are on the clash between Mali and Burkina Faso in what promises to be a battle of underdogs striving to make a mark in the tournament.

Mali, despite securing just one victory in the group stage, enters their third consecutive Round of 16 as a team with a formidable defensive record, boasting a streak of 27 consecutive matches conceding one goal or less in AFCON competition.

The defensive solidity will be crucial for Mali as they face Burkina Faso, a team that surprised many by finishing second in a challenging Group D, which included the likes of 2019 winners Algeria.

Burkina Faso, known for their robust defensive performances, progressed with just one win and are considered among the tournament’s outsiders.

History appears to favor Mali in this encounter, with eight wins from the last ten head-to-head matchups against Burkina Faso. However, Burkina Faso has the potential to upset the odds, having navigated through a group stage filled with late drama.

Key players to watch include Auxerre forward Lassine Sinayoko, who has been pivotal for Mali with two goals in the group stage.

On the Burkina Faso side, Bertrand Traoré, who scored twice from the penalty spot, will be a player to watch as they aim to build on their impressive fourth-place finish in the previous AFCON.

As both teams look to secure a spot in the quarterfinals, fans can anticipate a tightly contested match, with defensive resilience and clinical finishing likely to be the deciding factors in this Round of 16 showdown.

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