Abuja - Mali beat Cote d’Ivoire 1-0 in their semi-final match on Thursday in Kigali at the ongoing 2016 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Rwanda to advance into Sunday’s final match.
Substitute Yves Bissouma scored the winner two minutes from time to send Mali into the final.
Bissouma struck in the 88th minute as "Les Aiglons" reached for the first time the final of the tournament designed exclusively for footballers playing in their domestic leagues.
It was a deserving win for Mali who even missed a penalty kick in the first half and was by far the better side in the second half.
Mali will now face DR Congo in the final while Cote D’Ivoire take on Guinea in the battle for bronze medals.
In this second semi-final match, it was the Ivorians who took the game to the Malians in the opening minutes.
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"Les Elephants" almost broke the deadlock on nine minutes when Essis Aka’s shot bounced off the post with Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra completely beaten.
The pendulum then swung the direction of the Malians and Sekou Koita forced a superb save from Ivorian goalkeeper Badra Sangare on 27 minutes.
Four minutes later, "Les Aiglons" were rewarded with a penalty kick after Cheikh Comara handled the ball in the vital area.
However, Sangare denied Mamadou Coulibaly with a good save from the spot.
The second half belonged to Mali and they dominated possession, but found the Ivorian backline a nut too hard to crack.
Substitute Nguessan Kouame and Koita troubled the Ivorian defence often, with the former missing a golden chance to put his side up on 58 minutes.
Bissouma's introduction gave the Malians more option in attack and two minutes from time a cross from Sekou Diarra found Hamidou Sinayoko, who headed to Bissouma to slot home past Ali Badra.