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20 January 2013
• Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Referee: S. Jedidi
• Attendance: 20000
S. Kéita 84'
Anyway, I'm Ben McAleer, I hope you've enjoyed goal.com's updates throughout the encounter. Have yourselves a lovely evening.
And that's full time in Port Elizabeth. Mali secure all three points following the late strike from Keita and now find themselves at the summit of Group B ahead of their encounter with Ghana. Niger will take some positives from the defeat, but now need to secure a win over DR Congo if they hope of making it to the next stage.
90' + 5'
Yellow CardMamadou Samassa
90' + 3'
Niger win a free kick in their own half and look to pump the ball upfield. It's aimed for the penalty spot, but Samassa claims easily and smothers.
90' + 2'
Samassa pumps the ball upfield and picks out his namesake, who wins a free kick in the Niger half. Mali will look to see this out now with a little over 90 seconds to go.
90' + 1'
Mali win a free kick deep in their own half and Samassa will look to waste as much time as possible before taking this.
There will be four minutes of added time at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
A late Niger corner and the chance to secure a late equaliser. Talatou's cross is easily cleared by the Mali backline, however.
As things stand, Mali will go to the top of Group B following the earlier draw between Ghana and DR Congo.
GOAL!!! Diawara delivers into the box and it looks to be a routine catch for Daouda. The Niger goalkeeper fumbles, however, and the ball falls to Keita, who has the simplest of task of putting into an open net. It's nothing less than he's deserved after hitting the post earlier in the second half.
At the other end, Diabate brings the ball down well in the box and fires towards the Niger goal. Lancina, however, defends expertly and Niger clear.
Talatou clips a ball into the box, but Samassa easily gathers again. He's been rarely troubled this evening.
Maazou breaks down the left and picks out Soumalia in space in the 18 yard box. However, he can't connect properly with the ball and it rolls into the hands of Samassa.
Great chance for Mali. Diarra picks out Diabate in space. He cushions his lay off for Keita, who looks to pass the ball into the back of the net. The midfielder strikes the post before Lancina can put behind for a corner. Closest Mali have come this game.
Samassa picks out Diawara on the right with a lovely little lay off. The latter crosses, but fails to pick out a yellow shirt and the danger is averted.
Yellow CardBoubacar Issoufou
Traore wins a free kick following a foul from Issoufou. 35 yards out to left hand side. However, the Niger backline again clear. They're looking impenetrable at the moment.
Issoufou delivers a corner towards the back post and picks out Maazou. He rises highest, but his effort is headed over the bar.
Mali look to instigate a counter attack through Keita. The former Barca man picks out the marauding Traore on the left, but his cross is cleared yet again. Impressive defensive performance from Niger this evening.
A Sidibe header is easily caught by Samassa with Niger looking to nick one in the last 20 minutes.
Tamboura takes a Mali throw in deep inside the Niger half and looks to pick out Diabate, only for the ball to be cleared.
Injury worry for Niger as the stretcher is called on with Maazou down and receiving treatment. However, he's back on his feet and looks like he'll be able to continue.
Diabate does well to work a ball into the box from the right. His cross is cleared, but only as far as Samassa. He drives into the box, but instead aims for the near post and into the side netting. The Mali substitute would've possibly fared better hitting his strike across goal.
Mohamed Lamine Sissoko
Good timing for that as Niger win a corner. Issoufou delivers to the near post, but it's cleared well.
Just past the hour mark at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and it's Mali who look the more likely to take the initiative. Niger are very disciplined, defensively, and have shown glimpses that they're capable of hitting their opposition on the break.
After staving off the early Mali pressure, Niger are now looking to stamp their authority on the game. They've done well so far and the ball is slotted through to Sidibe. He looks to knock around Samassa, but the Mali shotstopper smothers at his feet and the danger is thwarted.
Speculative effort from Kourouma, who drives from 35 yards out. "Lamentable" is how it's described by the commentators. I feel compelled to agree with them.
For all of Mali's dominance, they're still struggling to break down the resolute Niger defence. They continue to probe, but struggling to find the killer ball in the final third.
Mali the stronger of the two sides at the beginning of the second half and have the best chance of the game. Keita picks up the ball from distance and fires towards the Niger goal. Daouda is equal to his effort, however, and pushes around the post for a corner.
His ball to the near post isn't fruitful and Niger clear. Mali quickly regain possession and substitute Samassa receives the ball on the left. He cuts onto his right and drags an effort just wide of the near post.
Corner here for Mali, their sixth of the evening, with Traore set to deliver.
Yellow CardMohamed Soumaïla
Traore currently receiving treatment on the pitch following a collision with Soumalia. Free kick to Mali and Keita puts a ball over the top, but it evades everyone and goes through to Daouda.
Diarra puts in an early cross from the left, but there is too much on it for Samassa and Niger can clear.
Mali now look to be playing a 4-4-2 following the half time introduction of Samassa.
And we're underway for the second half.
And the two teams are currently on their way out for the second half. Mali players currently congregating in the tunnel with the Niger players already out on the pitch.
And that's half time at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and Diabate's early effort aside, there have been little in terms of clear cut chances in the opening 45.
One minute of additional time left of the half and Mali win a corner. This will surely be the last bit of action before the interval as Diarra jogs over to take the corner. He picks out Diabate at the back post, but the burly front-man can't get enough power behind his header and Daouda catches calmly.
One minute of normal time left of the first half and both teams appear content with the scores being level at present. No real urgency from either side heading into the interval.
Koudize wins a free kick around 40 yards out for Niger. A chance for Issoufou has a chance to launch into the 18 yard box, but Samassa expertly plucks from the air. He's been particularly dominant of his area this half.
Niger win a throw in deep in the Mali half. Lancina picks out Kourouma towards the halfway line, but the latter's cross is weak and Mail clear.
Something that has caught my eye during this first half is Patrice Carteron. The Mali head coach looks rather fetching in his white trousers this evening.
A ball played through to Diarra looks to be shepherded out by Chicoto, only for the Mali ace to expertly keep the attack alive. However, nobody is expecting to see the former retrieve and Niger can clear.
Traore wins a free kick around the halfway line and Mali try to take it quickly. The referee is having none of it, however, and pulls play back. With it, the attack breaks down.
Soumalia concedes a free kick following a foul on Keita. Diarra stands over the ball from 30 yards out and, oddly enough, decides to shoot. His effort is rising the whole way to goal and the ball drifts out for a goal kick.
Niger win a free kick around the half way line. The ball is pumped high into the box, but Samassa is underneath it the whole way and claims easily.
Traore delivers and the ball takes a slight deflection as it's aimed towards the back post. Diarra is unmarked, but can't adjust his body shape and knees out for a goal kick.
Chicoto concedes a free kick in another dangerous position following a foul on Diarra. Traore had six yellow shorts to aim for.
Diarra delivers and the ball finds its way to Traore around 25 yards. His volley is weak, however, and trickles away for a Niger goal kick.
You get the feeling Mali are beginning to turn the screw in this. Diabate is looking threatening pushing the forward, putting his dominant frame to good use. However, Niger are currently holding and manage to fend off the pressure for a Mali corner.
Mali win a free kick on the left flank with Traore standing over the ball as Sidibe is waved back onto the pitch. Keita is picked out from the cross, but Diabate gets in his way and Niger can hold off the pressure and clear the danger.
Niger are currently down to 10 men and Mali look to capitalise, but are being held by the resolute Niger defence.
Meanwhile, Sidibe is currently receiving treatment off the pitch following a collision during the scramble.
Niger win a corner on the right flank. Issoufou delivers and after a scramble, the ball dropped to Dan Kowa. He smashes goalbound, but Samassa does well to block his effort and the ball rolls out for the throw in.
20 minutes gone at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium and it's Mali who have been asking the early questions, with Diabate coming closest in the opening exchanges.
Mali win another corner on the left, but Traore plays his cross closer to the penalty spot. Daouda comes to claim, but again flaps and concedes a corner on the opposite flank. Diarra to take and he picks out N'Diaye at the near post, who heads just wide for a goal kick.
Traore strolls over to take the corner and delivers towards the six yard box. Daouda comes to claim and flaps, but the referee has already blown for a free kick following an adjudged foul on the Niger 'keeper.
Ambitious from Traore from 35 yards out after Keita's initial effort is blocked. His volley drifts wide via a deflection and Mali have a corner.
Superb work by Traore on the left as he battles for the ball and wins. He pulls back to Diarra, but it's just an inch too far in front of him and despite stretching for the ball, smashes his effort over the bar.
Keita looks to pick out Diabate from the left, but Daouda easily claims the cross and eases the pressure of Niger.
Despite the small crowd this evening, the Vuvuzela's are clearly audible at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Kourouma attempts to thread a through ball to Sidibe, but debutant Wague clears for a throw in.
Issoufou delivers and Samassa flaps at the cross. Kourouma isn't able to capitalise and the ball bounces out for a Mali goal kick.
Maazou wins a corner for Niger as they look to build on this brief spell of pressure.
Niger win a throw in deep in the Mali half, Samassa gathers Lancina's attempt into the box, however.
Mali started the stronger of the two teams this evening, but Diabate's early effort looks to have spurred them into life as they look to improve on the possession stats.
Early effort from Diabate as he drives a low effort goalbound. However, Kassaly gets done well to hold for Niger.
Quick to point out that Wague of Mali is making his international debut this evening. Big occasion for the youngster.
Early Mali attack breaks down as Seydou Keita can't quite get his foot on the ball.
Mali playing from left to right in the first half and come into the encounter as the favourites to pick up the win.
And we're underway between Mali and Niger.
The two teams are now out at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium ahead of the national anthems. A little over five minutes until kick off.
Following the 2-2 draw between Ghana and DR Congo, should there be a victor in this encounter will shoot to the summit of Group B.
And for opponents Niger: Kassaly, Chicoto, Fatokouma, Kowa, Bachar, Koudize, Soumaila, Lancina, Boubacar, Sidibe, Maazou
First for Mali: Samassa, Fousseiny Diawara, Tamboura, Wague, Ndiaye, Kalilou Traore, Keita, Mahamane Traore, Fantamady Diarra, Sigamary Diarra, Tidiane Diabate
Good evening all, I'm Ben McAleer and I'll be your man covering the African Cup of Nations Group B encounter between Mali and Niger. Team news as follows.
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