Namibia hold off Mali to secure spot in Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16

Namibia hold off Mali to secure spot in Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16

Namibia secured their maiden qualification to the Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 with a goalless draw against Mali.

The Brave Warriors, whose victory over Tunisia had set up the prospect of knockout football, lived up to their nickname with a resilient display against the misfiring Group E winners.

After almost taking a surprise lead in the 16th minute when Prins Tjiueza's angled shot was tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Djigui Diarra, Namibia focused mainly on damage limitation.

They knew as long as they matched Tunisia's result against South Africa they would progress as one of the best third-placed sides and the first two goalless draws of the tournament ensured that is how it played out.

Mali dominated possession but their best first-half chances saw Fousseni Diabate cut in onto his left foot to force a good save from Lloyd Kazapua and Lassine Sinayoko plant a close-range header wide.

Having managed just one shot on target, Mali coach Eric Chelle replaced both his strikers just a few minutes into the second half, bringing on Kamory Doumbia and Ibrahim Sissoko.

With Namibia working hard to hold onto what they had and not over-extend themselves, the initiative remained with Mali but Sissoko's main contributions were to balloon a shot way over from the edge of the area and then fail to connect with Nene Dorgeles' cross into the six-yard box.

Mali did not force Kazapua into a genuine save in the second half until five minutes from the end when he tipped Amadou Dante's low free-kick around the post.

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