AFCON 2021: Equatorial Guinea Shock Mali on Penalties to Reach Quarter Finals
- Minnows Equatorial Guinea are through to the quarter finals of the AFrica Cup of Nations after beating pre-tournament favourites Mali
- Goalkeeper Jesus Ovono was the hero of the night after saving Falaye Sacko's penalty to send his country through
- Equatorial Guinea will next face heavyweights Senegal in the quarter finals as their fairytale AFCON continues in Cameroon
Young goalkeeper, Jesus Owono, was the hero in Limbe after his penalty shootout heroics sent unfancied Equatorial Guinea through to the quarter finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
After a pulsating 120 minutes of action without a goal, the two countries had to be separated with the lottery of penalties.
Mali dominated and controlled the first half coming close a couple of times with Ibrahima Kone and Moussa Doumbia getting some chances in the box.
Referee Papa Gassama had to overturn a penalty he awarded after VAR deemed it not an infringement, after Doumbia had maneuvered his way into the box before loosely falling down.
Equatorial Guinea created two good chances but weren’t dangerous enough to threaten the Mali defence.
Mohammed Camara should have given the Malian the lead after the break following a nicely worked set up from Brighton’s Yves Bissouma, but the youngster fired way ward.
Mali came close again, after Mohammed Kouyate’s goal-bound header was blocked by an Equatorial Guinea defender.
Mali coach Mohamed Magassouba brought on Adama Traore and Southampton’s Moussa Djenepo, and the latter had an effort on target go few inches out.
With few minutes left, Emilio Nsue, who came on as a second half substitute came close but Mali defended resolutely.
The game was the forced into extra time after a pulsating 90 minutes of football in Limbe.
Equatorial Guinea took the game to the Malians in extra time, creating chances and winning set pieces.
However, both teams were cautious in their approach, knowing a goal conceded could be crucial.
But after 120 minutes the game had to be settled on penalties, Mali had the advantage when veteran forward Emilio Nsue missed for the Guineans with the first kick.
Mali the missed back-to-back with the third and four spot kicks, with Massadio Haidara and Hamari Traore the culprit.
Paul Ganet of Equatorial Guinea failed to take advantage as he missing the winning penalty.
And during sudden death, Falaye Sacko missed to hand Equatorial Guinea victory as they progress to the quarter finals.