Namibia served another shock at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), Cote d’Ivoire 2023, by defeating 2004 champions Tunisia 1-0 in Tuesday’s Group E opener while South Africa were dazed by Mali, www.aclsports.com reports.
The Brave Warriors were brave in their approach throughout the contest. They eventually triumphed in the encounter played at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo to claim their first-ever win in AFCON tournament history.
In a cagey first half of few chances, Namibia could have gone in front when Sundowns forward Peter Shalulile only managed to direct his effort straight at the Tunisian goalkeeper Bechir Ben Said on two occasions. At the other end, The Carthage Eagles’ captain Youssef Msakni tested Lloyd Kazapua with a curled effort but the Tunisians grew frustrated as the game wore on.
As a famous upset loomed ever larger, the minnows delivered a hammer blow with just a minute left to play. Pirates forward Deon Hotto latched onto a long ball over the top and outpaced the defence before coolly heading past Said. The Orlando Pirates winger thought he had doubled the lead when the offside flag denied him another goal in stoppage time.
The Carthage Eagles will have to recover against Mali on January 20 while Namibia come up against regional foes South Africa on January 21.
After Namibia’s opening-day win, Mali took South Africa to the cleaners to go top of the group in a thrilling contest on Tuesday night. In a relatively open game, second-half goals from Sekou Koita and Lassine Sinayoko earned Mali victory in Korhogo.
Mali should have led on four minutes but Lassine Sinayoko was denied by Ronwen Williams’ reflex save. At the other end, Percy Tau forced a good stop from Djigui Diarra after racing through on goal. The Al Ahly man then blew the chance to give Bafana Bafana the lead, blazing a 19th-minute penalty over the bar after VAR awarded the spot-kick.
Mali turned up the heat after the break, Amadou Haidara’s freekick clipped the bar before Hamari Traore bundled in the opener on the hour mark. Five minutes later, Sinayoko drilled a low shot through Williams’ legs to double Mali’s advantage and secure the win.
Earlier in the day, Burkina Faso defeated Mauritania 1-0 courtesy of substitute Bertrand Traore’s late penalty to go top of Group D.