How often can a side flirt with elimination before they finally go out? Ivory Coast had played the entirety of the second half with 10 men, were 1-0 down and seemingly on their way out of the Africa Cup of Nations when, in the final minute of normal time, the substitute Simon Adingra darted in from the right flank, squared for Seko Fofana and then, after inadvertently blocking his teammate’s shot, reacted quickest to stab in the loose ball. Another great escape for the hosts, who completed their victory with characteristic drama in the final minute of extra time.
It may not make much rational sense, but Ivory Coast are in the semi-final, where they will face Democratic Republic of the Congo. If any side can stop them, they will have to overcome not only a fine squad and a passionate home support, but also a sense of narrative momentum that, at the moment, feels unstoppable. Mali were devastated and while some of the players and their coach, Éric Chelle, wept, others jostled the Egyptian referee, Mohamed Adel, leading to a red card for Hamari Traoré.
Written by Jonathan Wilson at the Stade de la Paix
This news first appeared on https://www.theguardian.com/football/2024/feb/03/ivory-coast-mali-afcon-match-report under the title “Diakité’s 120th-minute strike sinks Mali to send 10-man Ivory Coast into last four”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.