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African Nations Cup MALI 2002
Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
3rd place
Mali - Nigeria
Before the match:
Nigeria's first game style had been impressive but even the Super Eagles did not break the jinx that prevented any of the 16 teams of scoring more than one goal. The constallation of this group: Nigeria can already advance with a victory. Mali would be mathematically still alive if losing and not save when winning.
> preview group A
Since the first match Nigeria's odds at Sportsbooks have moved up and the Super Eagles are now tournament favorites #2 after Cameroon. The team seems to be on a good way to find a formula not only to win but excite the crowds with stylish play. Still there were moments of bad concentration in defensive work (which includes midfielders as well) which would have allowed Algeria to score, had they only be more precise.
Mali are a young team who have impressed by a variable attacking game in their first match  But they were frustrated by a crowded and experienced Liberian defence and had to thank their late equaliser to the individual talent of midfielder Seydou Keita who is under contract in France.
> age structure of the teams
Nigeria go into the match as 4/6 (decimal odds: 1.67) favorites, Mali are 4/1 (5.0), a draw is 11/5 (3.2).
> more about the new possibilities of betting on African matches

1st half
-Nigeria in white, Mali in red socks, yellow shorts, and green shirts
-('4) already a handful of free kicks for Mali in midfield as Mali start attacking and Nigeria tackle agressively
-('6)('7) first corner on each side, no danger yet
-('10) a tactical foul stops another promising Malian attack - again no yellow card but a free kick into the wall
-('13) Seydou Keita fires one of his long range rockets but far wide
-('15) Bagayoko breaks through but Okoronkwo can catch up and clear for a corner - two dangerous corner kicks follow but can be defended
-('17)('18) it's back and forth - a very entertaining match, yet with partial dominance by Mali
-Nigerians try to get into their rhythm now, distributing the ball, but the Mali pressing is causing problems for the Supereagles as ball controll is not too easy on this dry ground
-('22) Kanu and Okocha set up beatifully an attack which eventually is broken up because of offside
-('23) another free kick is wasted for Mali
-('28) Okocha gets a yellow card for a late challenge
-('29) Nigeria: Agali breaks through on the right hand side and is fouled by #4 Adama Coulibaly who sees yellow, the free kick gets defended well
-('32) tactical foul stops Kanu and a promising attack, in the aftermath of the free kick there is some threat imposed by the Nigerians but no clearcut chance yet
-('36) another foul - Aghahowa sees yellow in this tough but not really nasty fight
-('37) deadly through ball by Ockoch but Aghahowa blows the golden opportunity chipping over the bar
-('44) Mali break though, Touré chips the ball over Shoronmu (who is already out of the penalty area) and gets run over by the Nigerian keeper, but no card, not even a free kick, the ball is far too short to reach the goal

halftime 0:0 (do I really need to write the score?)
The African Nations Cup is approaching an all time tournament record for consecutive scoreless matches - just what selling out to Pay TV deserves...?
Anyway - the best match so far

2nd half
-slower start
-('50) free kick Mali, 20 meters, half left, into the wall again
-('51) Nigeria: Kanu chips to Agali who fires directly and a showcase flight by the Malian keeper who grabs the ball safe.
-('53) dangerous tackle by #4 Adama Coulibaly on Kanu, this must have been the second yellow card. The referee has a lenient approach on some incidents. A stupid challenge for such a profilic defender (playing with Lens, France)
-('57) #10 S. Coulibaly penetrates into the penalty area but his promising solorun is stopped
-('58) the Malian keeper is out in time to stop Aghahowa who has been sent
-('59) Adama.Coulibaly gets a unique kind of punishment as Kanu's shot hits him in the face
-('61) Mali: great opportunity for Bagayoko who wins a header at the second goalpost after a cross from the right hand side but only hits the outside of the net
-('65) Nigeria: Babangida comes in for Agali, Aghahowa now centerforward
-Nigeria try with long balls now
-('68) Mali: Touré keeps the ball against two defenders and unleashes a dangerous shot
-('70) Mali: big chance, goalspell  with two attempts on goal blocked in the last moment
-it is surprising how much Mali can contain the Nigerian attack. They seemed to lack potential in attack but in recent moments they have even caused the Nigerian defence a lot of sweat
-('71)Mali:  two more half chances 
-('73) Nigeria: long ball on Aghahowa who fires high across the ball
-('75) #18 Mamadou Dissa comes in for #10 S.Coulibaly
-('75) long ball on Aghahowa who breaks through again, he is already in the penalty area, there is contact with a defenders leg, he falls, wants penalty. But the defender has touched the ball as well with his tiptoe, decision by the referee is: no penalty
-('77) Nigeria: Lawal in for Okocha
-('78) Mali: #11 Sidibè with a dangerous 20 meter attempt, just wide
-('82) Nigeria: A Malian defender misjudges a diagonal pass and suddenly Lawal is through on the half left. He fires a diagonal shot but the keeper Mamadou Sidibé makes a great save
-('83) Nigeria play through and it is the keeper again who rescues the dangerous situation when he intercepts the Babangid cross
-('84) a seesaw match, now it is Mali with furious attacking attempts
-('86) Lawal sees yellow for a foul which has hurt Seydou Keita. He is carried off but comes in a moment later. Meanwhile David Coulibaly has come on for Mali..
-('90) Mali: Sidibé with another half chance
-('injury time) David Coulibaly creates a foul against him just outside the penalty area at the left flank: he brings the free kick cross in right on the head of an attacker (Keita?) but Shoronmu can save the header 

final score 0:0
great match, good technique, fast pace, few big mistakes, very few goals...

match data as published by CAF Online:
Referee: Alex Quartey (GHA)
Ass. Referees: A. Jeddaoui (MOR), Endeng Zogo (CMR)
Attendance: 50,000
Mali: 1-Mahamadou Sidibe, 4-Adama Coulibaly, 5-Fousseini Diawara, 15-Boubacar Diarra, 2-Daouda Diakite, 12-Seydou Keita, 8-Bassala Toure (21-David Coulibaly 86), 10-Soumaila Coulibaly (18-Mahamadou Dissa 74), 6-Mahamadou Diarra, 11-Djbril Sidibe, 9-Mamadou Bagayoko
Nigeria: 1-Ike Shorunmom 2-Joseph Yobo, 6-Taribo West, 5-Isaac Okoronkwo, 3-Celestine Babayaro, 15-Sunday Oliseh, 7-Finidi George, 10-Austin Okocha (11-Garba Lawal 78), 17-Julius Aghahowa, 4-Nwankwo Kanu, 9-Victor Agali (13-Tijani Babangida 65)
Mali: 4- A. Coulibaly (30)
Nigeria: 10-Okocha (28), 17- Aghahowa (36), 11- Lawal (87)


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