Mali easily defeated South Africa 2-0 in Tuesday’s Group E match, indicating their intentions for the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations, Côte d’Ivoire 2023.
Both teams exchanged blows in an open first half until goals from Lassine Sinayoko and Sekou Koita gave Mali the advantage in Korhogo.
Four minutes in, Ronwen Williams’ reflex save denied Lassine Sinayoko, giving Mali the opportunity to take the lead.
At the other end, Percy Tau forced a good stop from Djigui Diarra after racing through on goal.
After VAR awarded the spot-kick in the 19th minute, Tau wasted the opportunity to put Bafana Bafana ahead by blasting the penalty over the crossbar.
After the interval, Mali increased the tempo, with Hamari Traore tucking in the first goal on the hour mark after Amadou Haidara had clipped the bar.
After five minutes, Sinayoko doubled Mali’s lead and solidified their hold with a low shot that went through Williams’ legs.
Even though South Africa made a late comeback, they lost because Themba Zwane’s free kick cannoned off the woodwork.
With the victory, Mali leads Group E on goal differential over Namibia, who earlier on Tuesday night stunned Tunisia 1-0.
However, based on this data, a polished Mali team with players of the calibre of Yves Bissouma, Amadou Haidara, and Koita has the potential to succeed in Cote d’Ivoire.