Mali Ends Host South Africa’s AFCON Dream

Mali's Keita equalized to force the game into extra time
Mali’s Keita equalized to force the game into extra time

South Africa are out the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations after buckling under pressure and losing 3-1 to Mali in a penalty shootout, after the match ended 1-1 after extra time.

Siphiwe Tshabalala was the only player to score from the spot for South Africa in a match which saw the host nation take the lead through Tokelo Rantie. But his goal was cancelled out by Seydou Keita early in the second half.

Mali kept their nerve in the shootout, scoring all three of their attempts.

South Africa started the match like a house on fire, putting Mali under pressure and getting the home crowd excited right from the onset.

After just six minutes it was clear that Bafana Bafana were going to press Mali and force them back. A resultant move saw Bernard Parker find space only for right-footed attempt from outside the box to lack power and direction.

It took nine minutes for Mali to get a sight on goal when Seydou Keita powered in a shot from distance, but it was always going over the crossbar.

In the 13th minute, with Mali under more early pressure, May Mahlangu burst into the danger area and left two defenders in his wake. He then passed to Reneilwe Letsholonyane, but once ‘Yeye’ hesitated, the advantage that the home side had was lost.

Seonds later, the ball went wide to Sibonios Gaxa and he got in an excellent cross, but even though Mahlangu got his ehad to the ball, he was just too late with his jump to get the header on target.

In the 22nd minute Mahlangu turned the Mali defenders around with a great through ball to Tokelo Rantie, but the goalkeeper Diakite just beat Rantie to the ball.

It took until the 32nd minute for the host nation’s pressure to find a clear crack in Mali’s defence. Mahlangu broke free and slipped the ball to his left to Thuso Phala, who whipped a pass across goal for Tokelo Rantie to stab home from close range.

But in the 41st minute, goal scorer Rantie had to be replaced by Lehlohonolo Majoro after he limped off with an injury.

Letsholonyane released an inviting through ball in the 57th minute and Majoro was through on goal, but a combination of strong defending and brave goalkeeping saw the chance go amiss.

But just a minute later dangerman Seydou Keita got free inside the box, onto the end of a Mahamadou Samassa cross and put his header past Khune to bring Mali level.

Then a mistake by Gaxa in the 61st minute allowed Samassa a shot at goal, but Khune saved well. Then it was Mahlangu who went close in the 80th minute after a good combination with Majoro that resulted in a first time effort on goal, which was saved.

The match went into extra time and Mali kept it very tight at the back while there were bodies being thrown on the line by both teams to make sure nobody made a mistake in the extra 30 minutes of play.

Mali kept their nerve in the penalty shootout as South Africa buckled under the pressure and saw three penalty attempts go amiss.

South Africa (1) [1] (Rantie 32’)

Mali (0) [1] (Keita 58’)

After extra time, Mali win 3-1 on penalties

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