Namibia/Mali: Mali Qualify for Afcon Finals After Beating Namibia

18 November 2020

MALI qualified for the 2021 Afcon finals after beating Namibia 2-1 in Windhoek on Tuesday evening.

Mali went 2-0 ahead after goals by Sekou Koita and Moussa Doumbia and although Elmo Kambindu pulled a goal back for Namibia, Mali managed to hold on for the victory to book their place at next year's finals in Cameroon.

Mali lead Group A on 10 points, followed by Guinea on 8, Namibia on 3 and Chad on 1 point.

Guinea are now the favourites to qualify along with Mali, although Namibia still have a mathematical chance of making the finals.

Mali dominated possession for most of the match and impressed with their long spells on the ball.

They came out attacking with an early shot by El Bilal Toure punched away by Namibian keeper Virgil Vries for a corner, but there was nothing Vries could do when Koita opened Mali's account with a great solo goal in the 11th minute.

He attacked from central midfield, broke into the box and unleashed a powerful shot that went into the left hand corner of the net.

Mali continued to attack with Aliou Dieng and Hamari Traore coming close to scoring, before Doumbia cut in from the left wing on 36 minutes to score from an acute angle.

Two minutes later, however, Namibia opened their account with an excellent header by Elmo Kambindu from an Absalom Iimbondi free kick.

Iimbondi had a great chance to draw level when he broke away on a quick counter-attack early in the second half but Hamari Traore did well to block his shot.

Mali, however, won a penalty on 59 minutes after !Hanamub fouled Doumbia in the box, but Vries pulled off a great diving save to tip away El Bilal Toure's shot.

Vries was having an inspired match, pulling off several other saves, while Namibia created several chances of their own, but their finishing was poor, with Iimbondi, Benson Shilongo and Peter Shalulile all failing to find the target.

Substitute Riaan !Hanamub came the closest to breaking the deadlock when his cracking shot in the 83rd minute bounced off the upright, and although Namibia bombarded Mali's defence in the final stages, the visitors managed to hold out for a vital victory.

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