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Wilfried Zaha scores the winner as Ivory Coast hammer Mali to reach AFCON 2019 last 8

Wilfried Zaha’s solitary goal was enough to secure Ivory Coast a place in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter finals as the Elephants stunned Mali 1-0 in a tough round of 16 clash played at New Suez Stadium.

Ivory Coast, one of the tournament’s favorites were keen to avoid falling victim to the latest AFCON upset as they took on a motivated Mali side on Monday evening, July 8.

Les Aigles qualified for the knockout stages as undefeated group winners, but came into the match as outsiders to pull off a victory owing to Ivory Coast’s superior head-to-head record.

However, the Mohamed Magassouba-tutored side managed to take charge of proceedings as their opponents struggled to settle in.

Mali’s incisive attacking skills nearly earned them the lead moments before the break via Moussa Marega, with the Porto forward shooting from a tight angle only to find the side of the net.

With the first half finishing goalless, the two teams had a bright start when they resumed hostilities, even as Mali came close to scoring in the 52nd through Djenepo.

However, the Southampton new signing could not shoot as he fluffed on the ball before stumbling.

Aware of their opponents’ threat, Ivory Coast broke the deadlock through Wilfried Zaha who side foot past the advancing but poorly positioned Diarra to make it 1-0 in the 76th minute.

Mali’s only realistic chance of equalizing came in the dying minutes of the match, but Adama Traore’s shot was calmly saved as the match finished 1-0 in favor of Ivory Coast.

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Paul Igbashangev

Paul is a versatile journalist to the core with a critical and curious mind. He is a confirmed Media Literacy Ambassador by NFVCB. He can be reached via mpaul2807@gmail.com

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