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AFCON 2023: Namibia 0-0 Mali

Namibia qualified for the last round of 16 of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) for the first time after a goalless draw against Mali.

The Brave Warriors, who had already qualified for knockout football thanks to their victory against Tunisia, lived up to their moniker by putting on a strong performance against the inconsistent Group E victors.

Namibia concentrated mostly on limiting the damage after nearly taking an unexpected lead in the 16th minute when custodian Djigui Diarra pushed Prins Tjiueza’s angled shot onto the post.

They knew they would advance as one of the top third-place teams if they could duplicate Tunisia’s performance against South Africa, and the first two goalless draws of the competition made sure that happened.

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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 planted 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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AFCON 2023: South Africa 0-0 Tunisia

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