With a goal in the 122nd minute by Oumar Diakite, the host nation of Ivory Coast pulled off another incredible Africa Cup of Nations comeback, sending the 10-man Elephants into the semi-finals at the expense of a devastated Mali.
Following Odilon Kossounou’s dismissal for two first-half fouls on Lassine Sinayoko, the hosts were outnumbered for most of the match and trailed to a sophisticated curler by Nene Dorgeles.
On the ninetieth minute, Simon Adingra’s opportunistic finish gave the Elephants an equaliser; nevertheless, Diakite’s shot from Seko Fofana virtually won it with the final kick of extra time.
Diakite, nevertheless, had mixed feelings as he exited the pitch because he will be suspended for Wednesday’s semi-final matchup against DR Congo (20:00 GMT) after receiving a second yellow card for taking off his shirt in celebration.
At the final whistle, there were some unsavoury scenes when Hamari Traore was sent off for taking his protests too far, and many Mali players surrounded referee Mohamed Adel, arguing with the official.
The goal that set off wild celebrations at the orange-bathed Stade de la Paix seemed to be rather good, so it was hard to see what the Eagles were moaning about.
When Fofana’s free kick came to him on the edge of the box, Diakite, with his back to goal, reflexively stretched out a foot to tip the ball past Mali custodian Djigui Diarra as his shot went through a packed goalmouth.
After an almost unbelievable run through the competition that saw them on the verge of elimination multiple times, the French club Reims forward’s quick thinking keeps the hosts’ dreams of winning a third Afcon championship alive.
Check out the sad moments of Mali 🇲🇱 coach after the defeat: