Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Keita’s late strike gives Mali maximum points

Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Former Barcelona player Seydou Keita settles a narrow 1-0 win over Niger

Sportsbeat
By and    
Mali
1
Niger
0

Seydou Keita’s late goal boosted Mali’s hopes of topping their Africa Cup of Nations group and secured maximum points against Niger.

Mali, who came third in last year’s tournament, scored six minutes from time through ex-Barcelona star Keita, who capitalised on an error from Niger goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly in Port Elizabeth.

Cheick Tidiane Diabate had a chance for Mali four minutes in, but his drilled shot across the ground provided an easy save for Mena goalkeeper Daouda.

Mali’s Cheick Fantamady Diarra almost broke the deadlock on 15 minutes – hitting the ball way over the Niger goal from 12 yards out after Mahamane Traore’s dangerous cross.

Traore nearly scored himself a minute later with a powerful volley from distance, but the OGC Nice midfielder sent the ball sailing harmlessly wide of the post.

Niger should have pulled ahead 21 minutes in when Molla Wague’s tight-angled shot from inside the Mali box smashed into goalkeeper Mahamadou Samassa.

Cheick Diarra missed a decent opportunity for the Eagles on the half hour mark – failing to connect with Keita’s free-kick, deep inside the Niger penalty area.

The Rennes midfielder missed another chance six minutes before the break, sending a potent free-kick well over the crossbar from 30-yards out to round of a largely disappointing half.

Mohamed Soumaila drew the game’s first yellow-card three minutes after the break for a rash challenge on Traore.

Mali captain Keita came close nine minutes after the break – the 33-year-old forcing an impressive save from Niger goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly.

Samassa could only find the side-netting for the Eagles on 65 minutes, after making some decent space for himself deep inside the Niger penalty area.

Niger – who have never won a tournament point – almost snuck ahead nine minutes later, but Moussa Maazou’s header sailed over the Eagles’ bar following a Mena corner.

Keita came close 13 minutes from time – the former Barcelona star ratting the Niger crossbar from the edge of the box.

But he made no mistake in the 84th minute, his predatory instincts and finishing power on full display after Kassaly’s punch clear from Fousseiny Diawara’s cross landed neatly at his feet.

Mali face four-time champions Ghana on Thursday and will have a great oppurtunity of sealing the top spot in Group B.

MORE: Seven reasons why Chelsea must keep Cesc Fabregas

MORE: 20 Chelsea targets Conte could sign to replace Terry

MORE: Do you know the top Muslim footballers in the Premier League?

MORE: Back to The Sport Review homepage

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

The Sport Review
Watch: Man United’s David De Gea embarrassed by Chelsea star’s wonder-goal
The Sport Review
Miami WTA Preview: Kerber and Pliskova head field, but Vesnina and Kuznetsova on a roll
The Sport Review
Top 50 most stylish footballers in the world in 2017: Chelsea, Arsenal stars feature – Slideshow
The Sport Review
20 Chelsea transfer targets Antonio Conte could sign in the summer
The Sport Review
Top 25 Muslim football players in Premier League: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man United and Chelsea stars feature
The Sport Review
Arsenal WAGs 2017: Meet Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s wives and girlfriends
The Sport Review
Roberto Firmino: 25 photos of the Liverpool forward’s stunning wife
The Sport Review
Top 40 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United stars feature
The Sport Review
Miami Open 2017: British hopes rest on Konta, as Edmund, Evans, Watson, Bedene lose openers
The Sport Review
Sir Alex Ferguson reacts to Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Man United exit
The Sport Review
Alan Shearer predicts where Man United and Arsenal will finish this season