South Africa had started
as one of the tournaments favorites but had failed to find the goal in
their first two matches. The former African champions of 1996 have played
from a reserved formation, relying on defence and fast, direct, and clear
attacks. Yet they have only conceded one goal from the penalty spot but
have been on the verge of a knock out before in the decisive third group
match a tactical change (Nomvete came in as attacker to tear up the weak
Moroccan right defnce side) and the help of the Moroccan defenders suddenly
brought the South African train back on tracks.
Mali will find it hard to
break down this defence. Although they improved from a promising start
to an euphoric third group match, the Malian attack has looked unable to
force many chances against more disciplined defences. The Malian game itself
builds upon a fine work of midfield dominance. Thus attacks of their opponents
have been seldom. But when tested the Malian defence has not looked errorfree.
An additional problem will be the reported absence of two defenders because
of injury, among them the conspicious but not always calm Adama Coulibaly.
Concern is about security:
The match will be played at Kayes in a small stadium, only a quarter capacity
of the big one in Bamako. Maybe it had been better to switch the venues
to enable a larger crowd to view the host team as whole Mali seems to be
enthusiastic about the success of their side.
South Africa go into the
match as 45% favorites (decimal odds 2.0), Mali are rated 27/% (3.4), a
draw 28% (3.2).
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-South Africa in white,
Mali in red socks, yellow shorts and green shirts. South Africa starting
-first minutes: South
Africa seem to stick to their tactics of the first matches but somehow
look more sharp
-Mali might have difficulties
with their midfield pressing as South Africa does not have the ball long
in midfield. Either they play it directly into attack or back to the defenders
from where a long ball is seeking the attackers.
-('8) Mali: #10 Soumaila
Coulibaly with a dangerous cross
-South Africans crowd
in their own half when Mali are in possession of the ball.
-('12) Malian keeper has
to throw himself into the way after a too short back pass almost has turned
into a through ball for a South African attacker
-it has been the pitch
again who has its effect on short passing
-('15) dangerous looking
free kick cross by Mali - fisted away by South African keeper Vonk
-('22) #8 Bassala Touré
with a good run on the left wing, but only good for a corner
-South Africa are not
only playing a 'catenaccio' klischee football, they also slow down the
match by passing the ball around among defenders when in possession. They
want to tease Mali out of their half and then play a long ball into attack.
Mali play more directly into attack and so have less of the ball because
their attacks are over more quickly
-('32) Mali: Bagayoko almost
drbbles through 3 defenders inside the South African penalty area but is
-('34) Zuma who has already
been responsible for the penalty against Morocco, makes a foul which results
in a good free kick position for Mali. But the free kick is far wide off
-Maybe South Africa with
their more relaxed approach speculate too on having the edge physically
towards the end of the match which is played in the Kayes heat.
-('45) a shot on the goal
by South Africa! (Zuma) (no problem for the keeper)
'Italian style' South Africa
with defensive time consuming football trying to frustrate Mali who are
more constructive and attacking. A nice tactical match, good chess game.
-tactics do not seem
to have changed
-('47) Nomvete does good
work put some lone pressure on the Mali defence who is in ball possession
-a forced or an unfoprced
error might predecide this match
-('54) dangerous free kick
cross by Keita, Coulibaly irritates the keeper as he tries to reach it
but does not touch it. The ball runs through but a great save by Vonk keeps
it from going into the corner of the goal
-('57) Mali: Seydou Keita
with an attempt from 20 meters but far too high
-('58) suddenly South Africa
attack with 5 players and put the crowded Malian defence to a severe test
-(61) #8 Bassala Touré
comes from the left hand side, he cuts inside before two South African
defenders, he runs towards the middle and unleashes a sharp low shot from
20 meters with his right foot into the first corner to beat Vonk - 0:1
-('63) magnificient save
by South African keeper Vonk to deny the second goal against a shot by
#5 Diawara after a corner
-('66) #9 Shaun Bartlett
comes on for Nomvete. He had been injured since the early minutes of the
-('67) He immediately creates
a chance as he passes on a long throw in by head. Yet Mali can control
the situation somehow.
-('70) Adama Coulibaly,
who had been questionalble because of injury before the game, intercepts
a through ball by McCarthy on Bartlett
-('70) more pressure by
South Africa, again Mali has a leg in at the last moment
-('73) South Africa: Buckley
in for Fortune
-('74) South Africa: the
Malian keeper tries to cleare a cross, but not very good to the feet of
an attacker who shoots from 16 meters but one of the several defenders
on the line can stop the not too dangerous ball for the beaten keeper.
-Now South Africa are
running behind the time they ate up before Mali scored. They clearly have
geared up and they are dangerous. But is there enough time?
-('79) Mali look a bit nervous
-('82)Mali: #17 Dramane
Coulibaly in for #10 Soumila Coulibaly who hands the captaincy on to Bassala
-('84) Mali put some pressure
with attacks on the South African defence and so not only threaten with
a second goal but also take 2 minutes off the clock
-('86) South Africa bring
on attacker Bradley August for defender Old John
-('88) Benni McCarthy is
lucky not to get his second yellow card for a frustration foul
-('89) Mali: long ball on
Bagayoko who outrubns his defender by a great move but falls then. Referee
says free kick and yellow card for #19.
-('90) Draman Coulibaly
blows it high into the sky
-('90+2) Mali magnificient
counter attack after intercepting the ball in midfield, through ball down
the left hand side, a cross and #17 D. Culibaly scores - 0:2
-a key for this counter
goal and the few South African chances has been that Mali have not
drawn back but still tried to keep pressure on South Africa overall on
final score 0:2
It is the curse of tactical
masterpieces like the one by South Africa: you leave a very bleak image
of your talents: 3 matches with no goals scored and a quarter final
exit is not much to remember.
Mali in overwhelmed joy
as the crowd storms on the pitch. For the second time after the match against
Nigeria they have proved they can challenge the big ones here.
How close and ironic football
is: Had the 2006 rule change already aplplied here, Mali would have qualified
for the World Cup. A team that had not reached the top 20 in the World
Cup qualifiers. It shows as well how much is possible in those talented
West African countries in relative short time (in fact the basis for this
was layed in yearlong youth work as well).
match data as published
by CAF Online:
Referee: Arturo Ibanez
Ass. Referees: Vincent
Texier (FRA), Taoufik Adjengui (TUN)
Bassala Toure 60, Dramane
Mali: 1-Mahamadou Sidibe,
4-Adama Coulibaly, 5-Fousseini Diawara, 15-Boubacar Diarra, 19-Adama Diakite,
12-Seydou Keita, 8-Bassala Toure, 10-Soumaila Coulibaly (17-Dramane Coulibaly,
82), 6-Mahamadou Diarra, 11-Djbril Sidibe, 9-Mamadou Bagayoko.
South Africa: 1-Hans
Vonk, 2-Mbulelo Mabizela (11-Bradley August, 86), 3-Bradley Carnell, 13-Pierre
Issa, 19-Aaron Mokoena, 21-Eric Tinkler, 8-Thabo Mngomeni, 7-Quinton Fortune
(18-Delron Buckley, 73), 14-Siyabonga Nomvete (9-Shaun Bartlett, 66), 15-Sibusiso
Zuma, 17-Benni McCarthy.
Cautions: RSA: 17- McCarthy
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