AFCON 2017: Uganda hold Mali as both sides exit

Uganda Cranes scored their first goal at an African Nations Cup finals for 39 years as they bowed out of the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Mali in a Group D encounter played on waterlogged Stade d’Oyem pitch on Wednesday.

The first five minutes saw both sides struggling to string their short passes togerher due to wet surface,but the Eagles enjoyed the possesion.

Mali had their first attempt on 15th minute when Moussa Marega penentrated the defence,shooting from a tight angle but his attempt hit the side of the net.

Cranes best chance came in the 27th minute,Miya tried a long range effort,but it went wide with Mali goalkeeper Oumar Sissoko off his line.

Mali controlled rest of the first half but failed to utilize their chances as the score remained 0-0 at half time.

In the second half,Mali showed some urgency but it was Cranes who brought to life the match after 70 minutes of dismal football on a shocking surface .

Cranes took a deserved lead when Farouk Miya collected ball just outside the area and fired a rising shot into the top corner.

Mali, five-times semi-finalists and once runners-up, quickly replied when 20-year-old Yves Bissouma scored with an even more impressive effort, a 30-metre free kick which flew into the net and left Robert Odongkara rooted to the spot.

The match, played in front of a sparse crowd which has become an unfortunate feature of the tournament.

With one minute to go,Yatabare received a long pass from deep in the midfield, his idea was good,but was let down by his execution as the ball went over the cross bar.

The result made Mali get knocked out of the tournament as the Ali Giresse coached side needed a win to have a chance of making the last eight,but would have been eliminated anway because of Egypt victory over Ghana.

Egypt topped the group with seven points after their 1-0 win over Ghana on Wednesday, while the Black Stars were second with six points. Mali finished with two points and Uganda one points.

Uganda: Odongkara, Ochaya, Kizito, Juuko, Iguma, Aucho, L. Kizito, Oloya, Walusimbi, W.M. Hassan, Miya

Mali: Sissoko, T. Hamari, Wague, O. Coulibaly, L. Coulibaly, Sylla, N’Diaye, Bissouma, M. N’Diaye, Marega, Doumbia

Written by PH

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