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Afcon 2023: Mali 2-1 Burkina Faso - Sinayoko sends Eagles into quarter-finals

Mali booked a quarter-final meeting with hosts Ivory Coast by holding on to beat Burkina Faso at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

An own goal from Edmond Tapsoba gave the Eagles a third-minute lead, and Mali had several chances to add to their advantage before half-time.

Lassine Sinayoko did make it 2-0 early in the second half with a finish through the legs of goalkeeper Herve Koffi, but Bertrand Traore pulled a goal back for the Stallions from the penalty spot just before the hour mark.

Issoufou Dayo thought he had equalised for the Burkinabe in the final minute, but his header from a free-kick was ruled out for offside and Mali saw out eight minutes of added time.

The Eagles have reached the last eight for the first time since 2013, and Eric Chelle's side will now face the Ivorians on Saturday (17:00 GMT) for a place in the semi-finals.

Eagles get better of Stallions

Both sides had rested players in their final group outings, with Mali making six changes and Burkina Faso four for a West African derby which was played in front of a passionate crowd in Korhogo.

The Eagles seized the initiative from the off, with Amadou Haidara rattling the right-hand upright with a free header from Hamari Traore's cross from the right.

The ball rebounded back to a flat-footed Tapsoba just outside the six-yard box, and the centre-back side-footed into his own net despite not being under pressure to put Mali ahead.

Amadou Haidara celebrates a goal for Mali against Burkina Faso
Amadou Haidara played a part in Mali's opening goal but the influential midfielder was forced off in the second half following a clash of heads with Bertrand Traore

Dayo sent a mistimed header well over the bar and the rest of the first half felt like one-way traffic, as Mali forward Adama Noss Traore fired over, Sinayoko had a powerful strike saved by Koffi and Kamory Doumbia shot narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

Burkina Faso boss Hubert Velud made a double change at the break but his side were caught napping straight away when Hamari Traore released Sinayoko on the right and the striker advanced into the area before beating Koffi from a narrow angle with a left-footed finish.

The Stallions were given a lifeline when the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) sent Ibrahim Mutaz to his touchline screen, and the Libyan official decided that Boubacar Kiki Kouyate had handled Issa Kabore's cross.

Aston Villa forward Traore made no mistake from the spot, scoring his third penalty of the finals in Ivory Coast to make it 2-1.

Yet the closest the Burkinabe came to a leveller before Dayo's disallowed header was when Mohamed Konate saw an effort saved by Djigui Diarra in the 72nd minute.

Burkina Faso were rated as potential outsiders for the title following their run to the last four in Cameroon two years ago but their performances could not match the levels of those in the 2021 edition of the finals.

Mali, ranked 51st in the world, had also been touted as dark horses and will now face a tricky test against a rejuvenated Ivory Coast after the hosts saw off defending champions Senegal on penalties on Monday.