Ivory Coast silenced their skeptics on the night of February 3, defying all odds in the quarter-finals of the 2023 AFCON to triumph over Mali. When Bayer Leverkusen and Ivorian defender Odilon Kossounou received a red card in the 41st minute, many football enthusiasts, excluding Ivorians, prematurely concluded that Ivory Coast’s journey was over.
Surprisingly, the hosts of the 2023 AFCON organized themselves adeptly, securing a 0-0 draw at halftime despite the setback. The Malians missed a crucial spot-kick that could have given them the lead.
In the second half, the Elephants of Ivory Coast, playing with a numerical disadvantage, continued to press aggressively. Initially, their efforts seemed fruitless as Mali took the lead in the 71st minute through Nene Dorgeles, breaking the hearts of Ivorian supporters.
Contrary to expectations, Simon Adingra stunned the audience in the 90th minute, leveling the score and forcing the game into extra time. Despite playing with determination, Ivory Coast faced further adversity when Oumar Diakité, the scorer of their first goal, received a red card after 120+2 minutes.
In an unexpected turn of events, Ivory Coast secured their lead after 120+2 minutes when Oumar Diakité found the net. In the aftermath, Diakité was red-carded, and Hamari Traoré of Mali also saw the red card after 120+5 minutes. The game concluded with Ivory Coast emerging victorious with a 2-1 scoreline.
As a result, Ivory Coast is set to encounter DR Congo in the semi-final stage of the 2023 AFCON at 9 p.m. on February 7.