Mali Vs. Guinea, 2012 Africa Cup Of Nations: Mali Squeak Win In Entertaining Match

We might not have been expecting a particularly close contest between Mali and Guinea but the two teams combined to give us a superb attacking display that neither side deserved to lose. Guinea, who entered the match very much the underdogs, were probably the better side in the first half but a vicious half-volley by Bakaye Traore which Naby-Moussa Yattara could do absolutely nothing about sizzled its way into the back of the net.

Guinea's spirit was not dampened by conceding and they continued to make Mali sweat, weaving neat passing patterns in an attempt to break down their resolute opponents. Barcelona man Seydou Keita was instrumental in Mali's organisation and the heart of most of their good play on the attack as well. Slowly, though, they became more focused on keeping the ball away from Guinea, doing their best to restrict chances. It worked (just about - Soumaila Diakite was forced into several saves, including a brilliant one to keep things level right at the end), and Mali emerged 1-0 victors - if rather bloodied ones.

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