Guinea and Mali both exited the 2017 WAFU Cup of Nations after playing to a 1-1 draw in their final group stage match at Nduom Sports Stadium in Elmina on Monday evening.
With Nigeria having beaten Ghana in a concurrent Group A match at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium to join the hosts in the semifinals, the result between the Syli Nationale and the Eagles was nothing more than academic.
Guinea started the stronger of the two teams and claimed the lead in the seventh minute through Abdoulaye Naby Camara , who netted from close range after some poor defending by the Eagles.
Mali responded strongly to going behind and mounted some promising attacks, yet it was the Syli Nationale who should have added to the score line in the 22nd minute when Abdoulaye met a cross from Diallo Bailo, only to send his header wide.
Two minutes later Guinea’s Camara Kassory sent a fierce shot on target, only to be denied by a sharp save from Diarra Djigui, while on 34 minutes Abdoulaye again failed to hit the target from a good opportunity.
Mali created the final chance of the half a couple of minutes before the end of regulation time, but Mandala Konte saw his effort kept out by Guinea goalkeeper Abdoulaye Sylla.
The Eagles picked up in the second half where they left off in the first, though both Oumar Kida and Issaka Samake were unable to capitalise on chances in the opening minutes.
Guinea weathered a storm from their opponents before almost adding to their advantage just past the hour mark, as Mohammed N’Diaye put his shot just wide of the target.
Mali finally found their equaliser in the 78th minute, forcing Guinea defender Abdoulaye Naby Camara to put into his own net and bring the score to 1-1.
The draw saw the Eagles finish third with two points and a goal difference of minus one, while Guinea were last with the same tally but an inferior goal difference of minus two.
Guinea (1) 1 (Abdoulaye Naby Camara 7’)
Mali (0) 1 (Abdoulaye Naby Camara 78’ og)
Guinea coach: Hamidou Camara
Guinea: 1. A Sylla, 2. C Alseny, 5. C Aminata, 4. C Naby, 6. C Moussa, 3. I Sylla, 8. C Abdoulaye, 10. C Seydouba (7. C Sory 26’ [11. K Keita 90+1’]), 12. M Ndiaye (13. J Mouste 84’’), 9. C Kassory, 18. D Bailo
Mali coach: Nouhoum Diane
Mali: 16. D Djigui, 3. B Koffi, 4. S Boubacar, 6. M Konte, 13. I Samake, 14. L Samake, 11. M Kone (7. A Malle 58’), 8. C Moussa, 17. M Traore, 9. O Kida (12. M Balo 69’), 18. A Dieng (2. EH Salime Bah 38’)