Africa Cup of Nations: Guinea and Mali must draw lots to decide who joins Ivory Coast in quarter-finals
Last Updated: 29/01/15 8:40am
Guinea and Mali drew 1-1 in their final Group D game, so lots will decide who progresses to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals during a Confederation of African Football officials meeting on Thursday.
It is the first time this has happened in the tournament since 1988, when Algeria went through at the expense of the Ivory Coast.
The Elephants will be glad they have already qualified after an early Max Gradel goal gave them a 1-0 win over Cameroon in Malabo.
Guinea and Mali played out 1-1 draws in each of their previous Group D matches, meaning lots will decide who finishes second and faces Group C winners Ghana, after neither side was able to find a winner in Mongomo.
The Eagles began well and would have gone ahead inside five minutes was it not for Issiaga Sylla, whose timely block prevented Abdoulay Diaby's goalbound strike finding the target.
A strike by Ibrahima Traore, so impressive in Equatorial Guinea, was rightly adjudged to have been handled, allowing Kevin Constant to score the penalty with a cheeky panenka.
Rather than wilt after the 15th-minute opener, though, Henryk Kasperczak's side attacked and had a penalty within a minute after a handball.
But Seydou Keita, the most-capped player in Mali's history, failed to beat goalkeeper Naby-Moussa Yattara with a tame spot-kick.
Modibo Maiga attempted his luck from distance, forcing a fine save from Yattara, with a Naby Keita effort bobbling harmlessly into the goalkeeper's gloves at the other end.
Just 84 seconds into the second half, Mali got a deserved leveller. Diaby sent in a wonderful, lofted cross to the far post and Maiga headed home impressively.
It was the start of a Mali onslaught as they unleashed barrage after barrage of second-half attacks. Guinea, who saw key man Traore go off injured, were fortunate not be punished by a header from the unmarked Molla Wague and then Keita saw a free-kick blocked.
The bobbly pitch and poor challenges saw the game end in a whimper, meaning both nations will have to wait to find out their fate.
In the other Group D game, the Ivory Coast had a easier route to the last eight of the competition as Gradel's early goal gave them a 1-0 win over Cameroon.
Ivory Coast went close to scoring early on but Wilfried Bony saw his shot from Serge Aurier's cross saved by Fabrice Ondoa from close range in the fifth minute.
Shortly after, Cameroon's Franck Etoundi headed over the bar from inside the six yard box as both sides searched for the breakthrough.
The game seemed to be heading for a goalless draw as half-time approached but Gradel unleashed a 25-yard strike out of nowhere which flew into the top left corner to give Ivory Coast the advantage.
Stephane Mbia almost levelled three minutes later at the other end but Ivory Coast keeper Sylvain Gbohouo closed him down and thwarted the attack.
Cameroon midfielder Edgar Salli sent the ball over the crossbar in the last action of the first half as The Indomitable Lions went into the break trailing by the single Gradel goal.
Bony went close to claiming Ivory Coast's second in the 64th minute when he fired towards goal and forced a good save from the Cameroon goalkeeper.
Cameroon were still looking for an equaliser in the 81st minute when Aurier had to throw himself at the ball to block a 20-yard strike from Vincent Aboubakar.