Mali secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory against Burkina Faso in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations, earning a spot in the quarter-finals against hosts Ivory Coast. The Eagles took an early lead with an own goal by Edmond Tapsoba in the 3rd minute, setting the tone for a competitive West African derby.
Lassine Sinayoko extended Mali’s lead to 2-0 in the 47th minute, showcasing the team’s offensive prowess. However, Bertrand Traore pulled one back for Burkina Faso from the penalty spot after a handball review by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the 57th minute.
Despite the Stallions’ increased pressure, Mali’s solid defense, led by goalkeeper Djigui Diarra, held firm. Burkina Faso’s late attempt to equalize, a disallowed header from Issoufou Dayo in the final minute, added to the drama.
Mali’s victory propels them into the quarter-finals, marking their first appearance in the last eight since 2013. Eric Chelle’s side will face a formidable challenge against Ivory Coast on Saturday, February 3, in Bouake. The clash promises an exciting showdown as both teams vie for a spot in the semi-finals.
Ranked 51st in the world, Mali had been considered dark horses in the tournament, and their performance against Burkina Faso adds to their growing reputation. On the other hand, Burkina Faso, once rated as potential outsiders for the title, couldn’t replicate their success from the 2021 AFCON, falling short in this edition.
The Eagles’ journey in the AFCON continues, and their upcoming match against Ivory Coast will test their mettle in pursuit of continental glory.