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.

You can get 7/1 enhanced odds on Manchester United to beat Everton. Click here to sign up for an account now. T&Cs apply.

MORE: Get TREBLE the odds on any sports bet. T&Cs apply

MORE: Man United latest news

MORE: Arsenal latest news

MORE: Chelsea latest news

MORE: Liverpool latest news

MORE: Back to The Sport Review homepage

Slideshow
The Sport Review
Top 15 most followed sports stars on Instagram: Man United, Real Madrid and Chelsea stars feature
The Sport Review
Top of the Klopps: Are Liverpool on course for the treble?
The Sport Review
Top 30 highest-paid Premier League players: Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Roberto Firmino: 25 photos of the Liverpool forward’s stunning wife
The Sport Review
Man United WAGs: Meet Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and David De Gea’s girlfriends
The Sport Review
Real Madrid player wages 2016: Can you guess how much Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale earn?
The Sport Review
Top 26 Christian footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd players feature
The Sport Review
Barcelona player wages 2016: Can you guess how much Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez earn?
The Sport Review
Top 25 Muslim football players in Premier League: Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea stars feature
The Sport Review
15 Chelsea January transfer targets: Di Maria, Hazard, Lukaku, Verratti and more
The Sport Review
Top 25 most stylish footballers: Arsenal, Man Utd, Chelsea and Liverpool stars feature
The Sport Review
Ian Wright reacts to Alexis Sanchez’s display in Arsenal’s 5-1 win at West Ham
The Sport Review
Gary Neville reacts to Chelsea’s 3-1 win at Man City
The Sport Review
Henrikh Mkhitaryan opens up on his start to life at Man United