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
''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.For
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