Mali made it to the final of the TOTAL African Nations Championship in Yaounde after winning 5-4 in a penalty shootout to eliminate Guinea at the tournament in Cameroon.
The match between the arch rivals ended goalless after in normal time and extra time.
It was substitute striker Mamadou Coulibaly who decided the semi-final tie at the Japoma Stadium in Douala on Wednesday.
Coulibaly sent Guinea substitute goalkeeper Sekouba Camara the wrong way with the final kick of the match to secure the Eagles’ place in the final.
This was after Sylli National playmaker Morlaye Sylla fluffed his side’s final kick while Coulibaly ensured that Mali converted all their kicks to spark a wild jubilation.
Guinea managed to find the net on 27 minutes but the referee and the VAR ruled that striker Yakhouba Barry was in front of Mali’s last defender when receiving the ball.
The referee had to resort to booking four players as a result of the physicality of the game.
Both sides were reluctant to venture deep into the opponents’ area before the break.
The second-half continued in the same manner but this time with some opportunities around the goal area which caused some anxious moments for both sides.
Guinea playmaker Morlaye Sylla attempted a free-kick from a similar position that saw him score the winner in their previous game but the Malian goalkeeper Djigui Diarra tipped the ball over for a corner-kick.
Mali will now face off with Morocco in the final at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Sunday.
Guinea on the other hand will play Cameroon in the third-place playoff at the Reunification Stadium in Douala on Saturday.
Mali head coach delighted
Mali national team head coach Nouhoum Diane was delighted after the game after his team made the finals.
“It was not easy. Guinea had a lot of chances. We did everything to win.The medical staff will do everything possible to regain freshness.”
“We will now prepare hard for the final,” he said.
Mali targets maiden title while Morocco aims at defending it after winning it in 2018.