Mali qualified for the final of the 2016 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) after ejecting giants Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 on Thursday.
Second half substitute Yves Bissouma was the hero for Mali when he dribbled past two defenders and sent a shot past Cote d’Ivoire goalkeeper Badra Ali Sangare in the 88th minute at the Nyamirambo Stadium.
The Eagles of Mali, who also upset Tunisia at the quarter final, created more scoring chances than their opponents with Abdoulaye Diarra and Aliou Dieng all wasteful in front of goal.
In the 31st minute Mali should have taken the lead, but Mamadou Coulibaly had his penalty kick saved. Cote d’Ivoire defender Cheick Ibrahim Comara had handled the ball in the box.
Cote d’Ivoire’s skipper Djedje Franck Guiza and Krahire Yannick Zakri also had some scoring opportunities that they wasted.
“I am very disappointed with the way we played today because we were on the back foot for most of the match,” said Cote d’Ivoire’s coach Michel Dussuyer.
The Mali coach Djibril Drame was a very happy man and said his boys played according to plan.
Mali will now face Democratic Republic of Congo in the final on Sunday, while Cote d’Ivoire face Guinea in the play-off.