Amadou Haidara and Diadie Samassekou’s Malian “Aigles” are through to the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinals while Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba is headed back to Germany.
Tapsoba found himself unlucky to tap a rebound of a Haidara effort into his own net in the 3rd minute. Haidara himself had to exit the match later on after suffering a concussion.
A critical Round-of-16 encounter at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations involving three Bundesliga professionals concluded with one German club player headed home while two others maintain the right to dream. As it turned out Leverkusen defender Edmond Tapsoba (Burkina Faso) and Amadou Haidara (Mali) were both involved in a crucial early play that heavily influenced the match.
Tapsoba unfortunately directed the rebound of a Haidara effort into his own net in the 3rd. Bayer’s Burkinabé center back had – up until that point- put together an excellent tournament, starting and playing the full 90 minutes in all three group stage fixtures for his Burkinabé Stallions. Tapsoba remained consistently solid for Hubert Velud’s West Africans through a group stage that saw them win, draw, and lose one match each.
The dream ends for the four-time AFCON semi-finalists. The Upper Voltans weren’t able to recover from the early deficit. Éric Chelle’s “Aigles” doubled their advantage shortly after the restart. Though the Burkinabé’s did pull a goal back via a handball penalty, the Malians came closer to restoring their two-goal cushion than the Tapsoba’s side did to scoring an equalizer.
Tapsoba had trouble with his passing and ground duels in the aftermath of the own-goal. Haidara continued to play a splendid match, getting two more efforts on goal off and recording two assisted shots. The RB Leipzig mainstay sadly saw his brilliant evening cut short when a concussion forced him off in the 74th.
Haidara’s Bundesliga colleague Diadie Samassekou – who turned a few heads in Mali’s second group stage fixture yet didn’t feature in the third – came on to turn in a very energetic relief shift. The TSG 1899 Hoffenheim benchwarmer accrued 14 touches in 28 minutes, earning 100 percent records on both his ground and aerial duels.
Mali – much like Burkina Faso – have often gone deep into the African continental championship without actually winning it. The road remains rough for Les Aigles, who must now face Sebastien Haller, Odilon Kossounou, and resurgent hosts Cote d’Ivoire in the quarterfinals on Saturday.