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African Nations Cup MALI 2002
Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
3rd place
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Nigeria - Mali
1st half:
-Mali in red stockings, yellow shorts, green shirts, Nigeria in green stockings, green shorts and white shirts
-Nigeria without Finidi, Kanu, Okocha, Shoronmu,  and the suspended Aghahowa, Udeze and Oronkwo  but with newcomer Christopher Justice, and Ikpeba, Aiyegbeni
-('5) Nigerian keeper Akanji has some difficulties in handling a free kick
-('13) Nigeria with relative control of the match and a first dangerous through ball on Aiyegbeni who targets wide with only the keeper to beat
-('14) the keeper has to be treated after he had collided with Aiyegbeni in the scene. He is already the third Malian player who has to be treated
-('17) Mali make extensive use of the offside trap so far
-('18) a first dangerous attack by Mali, but stopped by offside
-Nigeria with a surprisingly agressive approach do not surrender midfield like in the first match
-But Mali start to get better into the match now, and the next 5 minutes see exactly that domination by the hosts.
-('23) Mali's own goalkeeper interrupts the good run as he still seems to suffer from that collision when his head slammed against Aiyegbeni's foot
-('26) Nigeria conquer the ball in midfield and have a promising counter situation. But it is wasted by bad play
-('29) Nigeria: through ball (by Ikpea?) on Aiyegbeni who races away and beats the keeper by a low shot into the corner 1:0
-('30) Mali have to replace the keeper who obviously suffers from a concussion #16 Karamoko Keita comes in for Sidibe
-('38) Mali: Keita steals the ball from the Nigerian defenders but Bagayoko can be stopped - almost dangerous
-('39) yellow for Yobo for his use of hand against the face of S.Coulibaly when struggeling for the ball
-('41) Nigeria start a  quick counter through Babangida, but once more (in this tournament) a fast attack is spoiled and slowed down by the bumpy pitch. The ball starts to bounce, so Babangida has to slow down to keep control and the defenders can catch up with him.
-Nigeria have basicly swithed to a counter position, midfield is to Mali but the hosts do not come near a clearcut chance as very soon when encroaching the Nigerian half spaces are cut down

halftime 1:0
There is nothing special anymore about a Nigerian team without their midfield stars. But it seems to be a winning formula at Mali 2002 to have more success with workers rather than artists. At least Nigeria are in the lead. Maybe they achieve something today that they have not done in the five matches so far: score a second goal...
Mali is only as strong as their opponents allow today and this of course is a compliment to the defensive work of the Nigerian eleven.
hlaftime stats: 58:22 possession Mali, 17:11 attacks but no real chances and a goal for Nigeria.

2nd half:
-('52) snapshot: Mali have a nice combination winnning some ground on the right wing but the Nigerian defence is so crowded that they cannot penetrate into danger zone.
-('56) Mali: a mistimed cross seems to be underestimated by the Nigerian keeper and bounces against the crossbar
-('59) yellow for Oruma for a foul on Sidibé
-('61) Mali: good chance for Mali after a free kick cross, which is deflected and finds an attacker free but with the back to the goal. he tries a bicycle kick but it becomes harmless.
-('62) Mali: good counter situation, three vs. three, but again the Niegrian defence keeps control
-('64) Mali: danegrous free kick cross, missed by the Nigerian keeper. It sails almost out but is head back in front of the goal wjhere it seems to be Bagayoko who just cannot get off a controlled attempt on target - Nigeria lucky here
-('68) Nigeria: a fast attack on the right hand side, Babangida with a pass back from the groundline on Ikpeba in good position unmarked from a bout the penalty spot he hits only the air and the ball is bouncing on (the pitch played its part again), a second Nigerian attempts a shot from outside the penalty area but high across the bar
-('73) neat looking Nigerian attack blocked well by a Malian defender
-It is another match with few real clearcut chances but on a good level anyway
-('75) Kanu is in for Nigeria
-('76) Mali: a low shot from 17 meters, without any power but bouncing. The keeper does well to save it.
-('79) Kanu with a fine pass against the offside pass but the Malian keeper hurries out of his goal just in timne to intercept it
-('80) Mali. Dabo in for Bagayoko
-('82) Nigeria: free kick cross into the penalty area, error in marking (or a litlle foul by Ikpeba?) and Ikpeba is all free to score but he does not hit the ball and falls to the ground by the power of his attempt. the ball rolls out.
-('85) Mali: a free kick cross finds unmarked attackers  in front of the Nigerian goal but none of them is able to get the head at the ball
-('86) Mali: another cross gets dangerous but an attacker cannot get it under control in time
-Defences seem to lose concentration towarrds the end of the match. Quite normal as it is played in heat again and the match accelerates with Mali taking risks now.
-('87) Mali: a corner finds an unmarked player who seems in good scoring position but his attempt is deflected 
-('89) Mali: danegrous free kick cross again, this time intercepted by the keeper Akanji who seconds later misses a cross again from free play
-('90) Nigeria: Finidi in for Oruma
-('90+1) Mali: 2 corners, the second leads to a 20 meter lob which would have made it to the triangle of the goal if not Kanu had rescued on the line by his head
-('90+1) Nigerian counter and Finidi dangerous, works out a time consuming corner
-('90+3) Mali: long throw in into the penalty area but a foul stops the last promising attack of the hosts

final score 1:0
A piece of hard work for Nigeria in a match that always looked as serious as any other match in the tournament. A brave fight by Mali who were unlucky in the end.


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