AFCON 2023: South Africa handed tough lessons by dominant Mali

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FOOTBALL AFCON 2023: South Africa handed tough lessons by dominant Mali

Joel Omotto 01:00 - 17.01.2024

Bafana Bafana were second best against a Mali side that put on a second half masterclass to win 2-0

South Africa began their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in disappointing fashion following a 2-0 defeat to a dominant Mali on Tuesday.

South Africa had the early chance when Percy Tau got an opportunity to break the deadlock from the spot following a foul on Evidence Makgopa but he missed his penalty.

Tau then got a second chance, getting on the end of a good pass, but only fired directly at Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra.

The Al Ahly forward showed good centre forward play to tuck himself in between the two central defenders before receiving the ball but his shot did not trouble Diarra.

South Africa’s attempts to play from the back then nearly saw them concede but goalkeeper Ronwen Williams’s outstretched leg came to their rescue.

After the break, Mali upped the game and midfielder Amadou Haidara nearly gave them the lead three minutes later.

Mali then took off their star man Yves Bissouma for Lassana Coiulibaly and the Eagles began to fly. A move forward saw Sphephelo Sithole bring down striker Lassine Sinayoko on the edge of the box, leading to a freekick.

Sekou Koita stepped up and fired in a brilliant left-footed freekick which hit the bar before bouncing off in front of an already beaten Williams and Hamari Traore reacted quickly to poke the ball home for the opening goal.

Six minutes later, South Africa were caught out playing from the back again and with consequence this time, Sinayoko stealing the ball before scoring the second to kill off any South African hopes.

The Malians continued to dominate, not handing Bafana Bafana a sniff at their goal as they run out winners to add more misery on South Africa.