Co-hosts Gabon looked like it was going to be headed to their best showing in any ACN when Eric Mouloungui shot them into the lead in the 55th minute. But Mali had other ideas as Cheick Diabate equalized in the 84th minute. At the end of extra time, with the two teams deadlocked, the fate of the match was decided on PK shootout.
The Panthers were found wanting when St Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, missed his PK as Mali proved flawless in finding the back of the net with Barca’s Seydou Keita scoring the winning spot kick.
The semi-finals line up: Ivory Coast, the overwhelming favourites face off against Mali, while Ghana are pitted against the overachieving Zambians. The smart money is on an Ivory Coast vs Ghana final, which would be a repeat of the 1992 ACN final with the Taranga Lions emerging victorious after a marathon PK shootout 11-10, over the Black Stars. But this is football, upsets are part of the sport’s fabric.