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African Nations Cup MALI 2002
Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D
3rd place
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South Africa - Mali
Before the match: 
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.
sportsbook odds:
South Africa go into the match as 45% favorites (decimal odds 2.0), Mali are rated 27/% (3.4), a draw 28% (3.2).
> more about the new possibilities of betting on the African Nations Cup and how to read odds

1st half: 
-South Africa in white, Mali in red socks, yellow shorts and green shirts. South Africa starting with Nomvete.
-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 eventually stopped
-('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 target.
-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)

halftime 0:0: 
'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.

2nd half: 
-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 first match.
-('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 in defence
-('82)Mali: #17 Dramane Coulibaly in for #10 Soumila Coulibaly who hands the captaincy on to Bassala Touré
-('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 the field

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 (Spain)
Ass. Referees: Vincent Texier (FRA), Taoufik Adjengui (TUN)
Bassala Toure 60, Dramane Coulibaly 90 
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 34

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