Mali have advanced to the final of the U-17 Africa Cup of Nations after defeating Guinea 2-0 on post-match penalties at the Stade de l’Amitie in Libreville on Wednesday.
The dour semifinal match ended goalless after 90 minutes and the poor quality of play continued in the penalty shootout, with only one of the first five spot kicks converted.
The hero for Mali was goalkeeper Youssouf Koita, who saved three of Guinea’s four kicks (the other missed the target), while his teammates Hadji Drame and Fode Konate scored from the spot.
Mali, the tournament’s defending champions, will face Ghana in the final in Libreville on Sunday, 28 May.
The first real chance of a goal arrived in the 22nd minute, with a free kick for Guinea allowing Djibril Toure to get a glancing header on target, but Mali goalkeeper Youssouf Koita managed to smother the ball.
On the half hour mark a swift counter attack for Mali created a half-chance for captain Mohamed Camara, but the midfielder dragged his shot from the edge of the penalty area well wide of the target.
On 35 minutes Guinea’s Toure had the best chance of the first half when he was presented with a clear sight of goal in the middle of the box, but he dragged his shot wide of the goalkeeper’s left post.
The next genuine chance of the match arrived in the 65 minute and saw Mali’s Lassana N’Diaye put through on goal by Camara, but his stabbed shot was tipped over the crossbar by goalkeeper Ibrahima Sylla.
The match ended 0-0 at full time before Mali dominated the shootout to put themselves into the championship match finals.