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Impressive Mali Down Nigeria

African Nations Championship

Result: Mali 2-1 Nigeria

Date: 11 January 2014

Venue: Cape Town Stadium

Mali Started their CHAN Campaign with a 2-1 win over Nigeria at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.

Neither side created any clear cut opportunities in the first 15 minutes, with both sides being wasteful in possession.

Mali took the lead with the first meaningful attack of the game through Abdoulaye Sissoko's deflected shot in the 18th minute.

It was all going Mali's way and in the 21st minute Chigozie Agim reacted brilliant to deny Sissoko's powerful header from close range.

Lassana Diarra tested Agim from range in the 25th minute, but the Super Eagles number one was equal to the task.

Adama Traore doubled Mali's adavantage in the 50th minute, Ousmane Keita played in the midfielder, who who picked his spot and fired past Agbim.

Mali nearly got a third in the 47th minute, as Diarra managed to pounce on Agbim's unconvincing clearance, only for Ogonna Uzochukwu to clear off the line.

Nigeria scored with their first clear cut opportunity in the 55th minute through Substitute Fuad Salami's header, the defender rose above his marker to head home a free kick.

Agbim was called into action in the 69th minute, as Adama Traore let rip from outside the area, but the midfielder's effort drew a fine save from Nigeria's number one.

Diarra had a chance to increase Mali's advantage in the 83rd minute but the striker failed to make a proper connection with the ball from Issaka Samake's cross.

Ifeanyi Ede had an opportunity to bring the Super Eagles level but the striker's long range effort goes high and wide.

Souleymane Konate made a last ditch clearance in the 93rd minute, after Nigeria's Uzochukwu out ran goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite and squeezed in a cross.

This is how they lined up:

Mali:  Souleymane Konate, Ibourahima Sidibe, Ousmane Keita, Mahamadou Traore, Abdoulaye Sissoko, Cheick Doumbia, Lassana Diarra, Adama Traore, Issaka Samake, Soumalia Diakite, Yaya Samake

Nigeria: Chigoze Agbim, Solomon Kwambe, Benjamin Francis, Uzochukwu Ugonna, Odunlami Kunle, Egwuekwe Azubuike, Ejike Uzoenyi, Ali Rabiu, Ibrahim Abubakar, Hillary, Ede Ifeanyi

By Soccer Laduma

Follow us on Twitter: @Soccer_Laduma

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