Mali reach first Women's AFCON semis

Author: Beatrice Laryea
Mali defeated Ageria to qualify from Group A alongside Cameroun

Mali made history by advancing to the semi-finals for the first time thanks to a 3-2 victory over Algeria on Friday at the Cape Coast Stadium. The result saw the West Africans go through alongside Cameroun who held host Ghana 1-1 in Accra, effectively ending the campaign of the Black Queens.

Mali needed two goals from substitute Fatoumata Diarra to achieve the great feat, their best ever outing in the history of the biennial championship since making their debut in 2002.

The Malians made early incursions in the game as they were seeking for a win at all cost to cement their place in the last four.

Winger Salimata Diarra was brought down inside box following an excellent display to win a penalty for the ‘Les Aigles’. Bassira Toure's kick was too weak as goalkeeper Kahina Takenint parried it away in the 19th minute.

Despite the Malians' dominance, Algeria broke the deadlock in the 38th minute when Lydia Belkacemi headed home an excellent free-kick by Myriam Benlazar.

Mali showed character as they fought from behind to defeat Algeria

Thirteen minutes after recess, Fatoumata Diarra's low drive shot beat goalkeeper Takenint to draw level.

Imene Merrouche converted a penalty to restore Algeria's lead in the 63rd following a handball incident inside the box.

With seven minutes away from the final whistle, Aissatou Diadhiou's long drive effort from the centre beat goalie Takenint to pull parity for the second time.

Mali sealed their win with the last kick of the game through a spot kick by Fatoumata Diarra.

Elsewhere in Accra, Portia Boakye put Ghana up midway before Christine Manie levelled for Cameroun from the spot just before the break.

Cameroun topped the group with seven points, Mali on six points, Ghana with four points and Algeria in that order pointless.