AFCON 2021: Mali and Equatorial Guinea tussling for quarterfinal slot

Mali will face off with Equatorial Guinea in the Round of 16 last game on Wednesday in Limbe, with a place in the quarterfinals at stake.

Mali made an excellent start to the competition with two wins and a draw to guarantee the Eagles top spot of their group and a place in the Round of 16.

Mali will be relying on an excellent pair of midfielders in Amadou Haidara and Yves Bissouma.

Besides, the likes of Massadiou Haidara, Seydou Doumbia, Hamari Traoré and Kalifa Koulibaly have shown very good form since the start of the competition.

The Eagles’ objective will be to do better than the 1972 edition in Cameroon, where they finished second behind Congo.

According to Mali head coach Mohamed Magassouba, their objective on Wednesday is to register victory.

“This group has matured, we adapt to the reality of the match. Behind self-sacrifice, will and power, we play to make our people proud,” Magassouba said.

“We will face a good team from Equatorial Guinea. We respect them but we will play to win. I always tell my players we play to win; we want this cup.”

“Mali is one of the best nations in African football, it takes a continental trophy to top it off,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Nzalang Nacional came into their group as underdogs but managed to qualify from a tough pool that included Côte d’Ivoire and Algeria.

Stopping the unbeaten record of holders Algeria with a famous 1-0 win guided them all the way through to the knockout stage.

Having finished fourth at home in 2015, Equatorial Guinea might be looking for a similar feat, or even to go further this time round.

To do so, they will have first to challenge the brilliant Eagles of Mali on Wednesday evening.

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