Ivory Coast edge Mali to book AFCON 2019 quarterfinals spot

SUEZ, EGYPT - JULY 08: Wilfried Zaha of Ivory Coast scores the winning goal past Djigui Diarra of Mali during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 match between Mali and Ivory Coast at Suez Stadium on July 8, 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Visionhaus)
Ivory Coast’s forward Wilfried Zaha (3rd-R) celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) Round of 16 football match between Ivory Coast and Mali at the Suez Stadium in the north-eastern Egyptian city on July 8, 2019. (Photo by FADEL SENNA / AFP) (Photo credit FADEL SENNA/AFP/Getty Images)

Ivory Coast edged Mali 1-0 on Monday at the New Suez Stadium in Suez, Egypt, to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha scored the only goal of the game in the 76th minute of a tense game to ensure progression for the 2015 champions.

Mali failed to capitalize on their dominance of possession (60%) and convert their chances against an under-par Ivory Coast, registering only four shots on target out of 18 attempts.

However, Ivory Coast also had their goalkeeper, Sylvain Ghobuo, to thank as he made four saves during the game.

As the game appeared to be heading for a draw, Ghobuo launched a long free-kick which, appeared to be missed by striker Jonathan Kodija and a couple of Malian defenders, found its way to Zaha and he tucked in a low shot past Djigui Diarra.

Ivory Coast will next play Algeria in the quarterfinals at the same venue on Thursday with the winner playing against the winner of the quarterfinal between three-time champions Nigeria and 1996 champions South Africa.

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