Africa Cup of Nations - Group D
Ivory CoastIvory Coast1MaliMali1

Ivory Coast 1-1 Mali

By Ian HughesBBC Sport
Max Gradel (centre) celebrates scoring Ivory Coast's equaliser
Max Gradel (centre) celebrates scoring Ivory Coast's equaliser

Max Gradel struck late to earn Ivory Coast a draw with Mali and keep alive their hopes of reaching the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Mali had looked to be heading for victory, thanks to a superb half-volley from Bakary Sako after seven minutes.

But the equaliser came on 86 minutes when Gradel slotted in from 12 yards.

Earlier, Ivory Coast were denied a penalty when Wilfried Bony appeared to be upended by Molla Wague, while Kolo Toure headed against the bar.

Those two first-half incidents summed up the match, as the Elephants were frustrated for long spells. And once again they needed to recover from a poor start as they fell behind after only seven minutes.

Mali launched a swift counter-attack and worked the ball out wide to Sambou Yatabare whose far-post cross was met brilliantly on the half-volley by Wolves winger Sako, his left foot sending the ball low into the opposite corner.

Mali celebrate after Sako gave them the lead early on in the first half
Mali celebrate after Sako gave them the lead early on in the first half

It was not until the 25th minute that the Elephants created a clear-cut chance in response. A cross from the left was headed back across goal by new Manchester City striker Bony but Doumbia's attempt at an acrobatic volley was mistimed and poorly directed.

Ivory Coast coach Herve Renard cut a furious figure on the touchline and his rage was further fuelled when Bony looked as though he was impeded by Molla Wague but the referee gave a corner.

They almost scored from set-piece but Liverpool defender Kolo Toure's thumping header was superbly tipped onto the bar by goalkeeper Soumaila Diakite.

Despite their best efforts, fortune was not favouring the Ivorians and they were incensed when the referee awarded a free-kick in box, penalising Bertrand Bailly who had flicked the ball up to himself to head the ball back to his keeper.

Mali could not take advantage, with Sako firing the set-piece against the wall.

Opting for a front three of Max Gradel, Bony and Doumbia, Ivory Coast pushed forward in numbers after the break.

Yet the equaliser would not come. Bony headed wide from Gradel's dinked cross and then when Bony turned provider, his team-mates were unable to meet his inviting near-post flick-on.

From an unfortunate injury Mali took an opportunity to relieve pressure on their defence, taking about five minutes to substitute keeper Diakite for Germain Berthe. Inevitably the delay disrupted the rhythm of the game, both teams struggling to regain their composure.

Then with four minutes of normal time remaining, Serge Aurier, a threat throughout, played in Gradel and the substitute clipped a low shot beyond Berthe.

Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure told BBC Sport:

"It's a very good point. I think with quite so many chances, we should have scored more than one goal, because we were the better side in the game.

"For us it's very important that we give everything and we will fight for it. There are young players, for them it's difficult - but as a team I think we are strong and I believe that we can beat Cameroon [on Wednesday]."

Mali forward Bakary Sako told BBC Sport:

"We are very frustrated, because we could win today. It's the second time that we've conceded a goal at the end of the game. But it is not finished, so we're going to try to win the last game.

"We are not favourites, but we drew against Cameroon and against Ivory Coast, so that shows people how good we can be."

Mali's Bakary Mali's Bakary Sako (left) vies with Ivory Coast's Tiemoko Ismael Diomande
Mali goalscorer Sako in a tussle with Ivory Coast's Tiemoko Ismael Diomande

Line-ups

Ivory Coast

  • 16Gbohouo
  • 21Bailly
  • 4K Touré
  • 22KanonSubstituted forKalouat 83'minutes
  • 19Y Touré
  • 17Aurier
  • 9TiotéBooked at 82mins
  • 14DiomandeSubstituted forGradelat 39'minutes
  • 5Tiéné
  • 12BonySubstituted forGadji-Celi Carmel Juniorat 84'minutes
  • 7Doumbia

Substitutes

  • 1Barry
  • 2Diarrassouba
  • 3Assalé
  • 6Doukoure
  • 8Kalou
  • 11Gadji-Celi Carmel Junior
  • 13Akpa-Akpro
  • 15Gradel
  • 18Traoré
  • 20Gonzaroua Die
  • 23Mandé

Mali

  • 16DiakitéSubstituted forBerthéat 72'minutes
  • 15Diakité
  • 23Wague
  • 4Coulibaly
  • 3Tamboura
  • 8SyllaBooked at 59mins
  • 17N'Diaye
  • 14YatabaréBooked at 88mins
  • 12KeitaBooked at 77mins
  • 10SakoSubstituted forDoumbiaat 78'minutes
  • 7YatabaréSubstituted forMaigaat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Berthé
  • 2Diawara
  • 5Coulibaly
  • 6Doumbia
  • 9Traoré
  • 11Diarra
  • 13Coulibaly
  • 18Diaby
  • 19Konaté
  • 20Maiga
  • 21Traoré
  • 22Samaké
Referee:
Bouchaib El Ahrach

Match Stats

Home TeamIvory CoastAway TeamMali
Possession
Home66%
Away34%
Shots
Home13
Away6
Shots on Target
Home2
Away2
Corners
Home6
Away2
Fouls
Home18
Away16

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Côte d'Ivoire 1, Mali 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Côte d'Ivoire 1, Mali 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Côte d'Ivoire. Conceded by Sambou Yatabaré.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Sambou Yatabaré (Mali) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Adama Tamboura.

  5. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  6. Post update

    Delay in match Cheick Tioté (Côte d'Ivoire) because of an injury.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Junior Tallo (Côte d'Ivoire).

  8. Post update

    Adama Tamboura (Mali) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Post update

    Sylvain Gbohouo (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Tongo Doumbia (Mali).

  11. Post update

    Corner, Mali. Conceded by Kolo Touré.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Mali. Modibo Maiga replaces Mustapha Yatabaré.

  13. Booking

    Sambou Yatabaré (Mali) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  14. Post update

    Cheick Tioté (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Sambou Yatabaré (Mali).

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Côte d'Ivoire 1, Mali 1. Max Gradel (Côte d'Ivoire) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Serge Aurier.

  17. Post update

    Eric Bailly (Côte d'Ivoire) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Seydou Keita (Mali).

  19. Post update

    Foul by Junior Tallo (Côte d'Ivoire).

  20. Post update

    Mamoutou N'Diaye (Mali) wins a free kick in the defensive half.