Mali, Guinea forced into drawing of lots for progression at Cup of Nations
MONGOMO, Equatorial Guinea (AP) — Mali and Guinea drew 1-1 at the African Cup of Nations on Wednesday and sheer luck will now decide who makes the quarterfinals.
One will progress through the tournament's final tiebreaker rule — the drawing of lots — after both ended on the same points, the same goal difference and the same goals scored to tie for second in Group D.
Guinea led at Mongomo Stadium through Kevin Constant's 15th-minute penalty.
Mali captain Seydou Keita missed a penalty at the other end two minutes later, but the Malians drew level early in the second half through forward Modibo Maiga's back-post header.
Ivory Coast beat Cameroon 1-0 in the other Group D game to top the group and will face top-ranked African team Algeria in the quarterfinals.
But for Mali and Guinea, they have to wait until Thursday afternoon, when tournament organizers the Confederation of African Football will oversee a draw at a hotel in Malabo to decide who goes on to play Ghana.
It's a cruel way to be eliminated.
"They are the regulations of the competition and we have to go by them," Mali coach Henryk Kasperczak said. "But it doesn't work well. They (CAF) need to look at it again."
Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer said neither team deserved to go out in the manner in which one of them now will — in an unlucky draw.
"Of course I will be disappointed (if Guinea is eliminated)," Dussuyer said. "It's hard for each team because nobody deserves to be out of the competition ... but now it is a reality we have to face."
Both teams played out their third straight 1-1 draw of the group stage, meaning nothing else could separate them.
Guinea won its spot-kick at Mongomo Stadium after a shot from captain Ibrahima Traore hit defender Salif Coulibaly's head and raised right hand at the same time. Constant chipped his penalty kick down the middle to put Guinea seemingly on course for the quarters.
Straight after, Mali had its own penalty from Tunisian referee Said Kordi when Baissama Sankoh was also penalized for a handball. It looked even harsher on Sankoh after Maiga smashed a shot straight at him.
This time the experienced Keita hit a weak, low spot-kick that Naby Yattara saved.
Mali did go level two minutes into the second half when Maiga was unmarked at the back post to nod a deep cross from Abdoulay Diaby in. And Mali finished stronger as Guinea lost captain and playmaker Traore to a right ankle injury around an hour in.
The decisive break didn't come, though, ensuring the players have to wait nearly 24 hours to see if they are into the last eight of the African championship.