Mali exhibited grit and determination as they secured a place in the quarter-finals of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Burkina Faso.
The Eagles soared with a goal in each half to set up a crucial quarter-final clash with tournament hosts Ivory Coast, who advanced after defeating defending champions Senegal in the round of 16 via a penalty shootout.
Mali went 2-0 up with an Edmond Tapsoba own goal in the third minute and a Lassine Sinayoko strike in the 47th minute before Burkina Faso’s spirited efforts to fightbaclk meant the Eagles had to endure a tense ending after Bertrand Traore converted a second-half penalty to narrow the score to 2-1.
Despite Burkina Faso’s impressive performance and several chances created by the Stallions, Mali held firm to secure the 2-1 victory, bringing an end to Burkina Faso’s commendable run in the tournament.
Burkina Faso had finished second in Group D, alongside Algeria and Angola, but their journey was halted in the first knockout round by Mali, who emerged as the leaders of Group E.