JUBA, Sept. 9 — Mali beat South Sudan 3-0 in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification match played at Juba Stadium on Sunday.
The win took Mali top of Group C with six points while South Sudan remain bottom of the table without a point after two matches following a 3-0 loss to Burundi in their first qualifier game last year. Mali’s 27-year-old marksman Moussa Marega who plays in Portugal for Primeira Liga champions FC Porto opened the scoring in the first half by beating South Sudan goalkeeper Khamis Daniel to make it 1-0 to Mali.
South Sudan tried to level matters after the restart of the second half, but they were struggling to penetrate Mali’s defence which was marshalled by Mamadou Traore.
The visitors managed to double their lead through Salif Coulibaly, who hit the back of the net after the hour-mark to make it 2- 0 to Mali. The Eagles of Mali completed their remarkable performance in the dying minutes of the game after Adama Traore from AS Monaco FC slotted the ball past South Sudan’s goal keeper, Khamis Daniel.
The hosts defence which was led by David Dada managed to contain their much-fancied opponents in the opening stages of the game. The Bright Stars of South Sudan could only manage two shots on target as they failed to penetrate a strong Malian defense. South Sudan head coach Ahcene Ait-Abdelmalek blamed his side’s defeat to lack of preparations, adding that the Bright Stars were lucky to concede only three goals against a strong and experienced Mali side. He said the team has to work extra hard in order to win and get points in the remaining four group matches against Gabon, Burundi and away to Mali.
South Sudan: Khamis Daniel, Zakaria, David Dada, Ezekel, Aatif Mustafa, Abdu Awad, Samuel Tombe, Dusman Peter, Osama Kamal, Peter Chol, Aluck Akeuch.
Mali: Djigui Diarra, Traoré, Coulibaly, Fofana, Haïdara, Doumbia, Samassékou, Sacko, Djénepo, Marega, Diaby.