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Sports

CHAN 2016: Mali and Guinea through to the semi-finals

media Mali's Sekou Koita will take on Ivory Coast in the semi-finals of the African Nations Championship on Thursday. Courtesy of cafonline

Mali and Guinea qualified for semi-finals of the African Nations Championship on Sunday, after beating Tunisia and Zambia. The Eagles prepare to face Ivory Coast on Thursday, a day after Guinea go head-to-head with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 

Mali's grim determination payed off as they edged past favourites Tunisia on Sunday with a 2-1 win.

Tunisia, who clenched the title back in 2011, were among the competition's favourites. For a while they looked likely to sail past Mali, too, when Ali Monser opened the score with a powerful header fifteen minutes into the game.

Malool almost added a second twenty minutes later, but Abdoulaye Diarra stepped in to deflect the shot.

Luckily for them, the Eagles were handed a penalty in the 70th minute following a handball in the six yard box. Dieng seized the opportunity to equalise.

In front of a raucous crowd, man of the moment Abdoulaye Diarra then put Mali in front ten minutes later, with a powerful shot past Tunisian keeper Rami Jeridi.

With an inspired performance and dogged determination, The Eagles can pride themselves in reaching the semi-finals for the very first time, and dreal of renewing the feat against Ivory Coast on Thursday.
 

Meanwhile Guinea only just qualified, after beating Zambia on penalties, after a goalless draw.

The "Syli national" dominated Zambia at the start of the match, but it was the Chipopolos who looked closer to stealing the winner in the final minutes.

In-form striker Christopher Katongo even thought he had scored in the 85th minute, only to see his goal disallowed for offside.

The 2012 Africa Cup champion went on to miss Zambia's first penalty in the final shoot-out, a miss which ultimately spelled defeat for his team, as they lost the shout-out 5-4.

For the Guinean captain Abdoul Aziz Keita, on the other hand, the moment most goalkeepers dread was a chance to shine, as the AS Kaloum player saved two penalties before going on to score one himself.

His team now prepare to face the Democratic Republic of Congo in the competition's first semi-final on Wednesday.
 

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