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Partisans party as 10-man Cote d'Ivoire defy Mali to reach Cup of Nations semis

Spaces for all tastes were operating at the Hotel Tiama on Saturday afternoon for the quarter-final between Cote d’Ivoire and Mali.

Inside, the Piano Bar L’Equateur offered a big screen, comfy chairs and, in the restrictive humidity of an Abidjan afternoon, air-conditioning.

Hardier souls could brave the elements in the poolside Aqua Bar and a smaller screen while those in search of a party vibe lounged in the Bamboo Terrace - which appropriately offered the Stade Félix Hophouet-Boigny as an appropriate backdrop as well as a giant screen.

All were gathered in the Plateau business district of the city in hope of progress for the national football team to the last four of the delayed 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.

The quest to reach the semi-finals for the first time since Cote d'Ivoire's run to the title in 2015 started badly for the partisans.

Odilon Kossounou was booked after 16 minutes for felling Lassine Sinayoko in the penalty area.

Adama Traoré placed the ball on the penalty spot as eyes squinted in dread. They widened in jubilation after the Ivorian goalkeeper Yahia Fofana dived to his left to save the shot.

But Kossounou failed to rein in his indiscipline and his afternoon ended just before half-time when he was given a second yellow card for another hack on Sinayoko and dismissed.

Belief

Down to 10 men, the hosts were down a goal 20 minutes from time when Nene Dorgeles sent a sumptuous shot past Fofana.


Read more on RFI English

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