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Mali coach laments loss to Nigeria

30 November 2015, 10:30

Dakar - Mali U23s Head Coach, Cheick Oumar Kone, has blamed his side's poor performance in the first half for the 3-2 loss to the Dream Team VI at an Africa U-23 Cup of Nations Group B fixture on Sunday night.

Indeed, the story would have been different as Mali netted two goals in the second half through Niane and Abdoulaye Diarra but the three goals they conceded in the first half could not be overturned.

Tunisian-based Junior Ajayi opened scoring for the Nigeria U23s in the 16th minute and FC Taraba's Usman Mohammed doubled the advantage in the 33rd minute before the CS Sfaxien frontman got his second on the night with a simple tap in in the 45th minute.

Also read: Dream Team arrive Senegal, set for Mali

''We started very badly, but in the second half we played collectively. We lifted up our game and scored twice,'' said Cheick Oumar Kone.

''We could have equalized but we failed to convert some of the chances. Such is football; you get punished if you fail to take your chances.

''Our next game against Algeria will be equally difficult. They are beatable but we have to avoid mistakes like we did today.''

On match day two on Wednesday, Nigeria, who top the group, will tackle Egypt while Mali will be hoping to get back on track when they face Algeria at the Stade Caroline Faye, M'Bour.

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- News24


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