Guinea beats Mali to quarterfinals via lottery

GUINEA reached the Africa Cup of Nations in bizarre fashion, after their name was pulled out of a hat ahead of Mali.

  After a 1-1 draw between the two sides in Bata on Wednesday night, they were level on three points apiece in Group D.

Both sides had scored and conceded three goals, and could only be separated by the drawing of lots. And it was Guinea who came out first, sending them through to play Ghana on Sunday, while Mali head home.

  With international press kept outside, the news broke in dramatic circumstances, with a Guinean delegate bursting out of the meeting shouting ‘We’ve qualified, we’ve qualified’ to the assembled crowd.

  It was a huge relief for the delegates from the Ebola-hit nation, who began celebrating openly outside the meeting, before calling the team hotel to tell the players the good news.

  Amara Dabo, from the Guinean sports ministry, was the man called upon to make the draw at a meeting of the tournament’s organizing committee.

And he pulled out his own country ahead of Mali, who crash out of the competition despite not losing a game.

  Speaking afterwards Guinea Sports minister, Domani Dore, called it a ‘win for Africa’. 

  “The whole of Africa has come together to fight the Ebola epidemic, including our brothers in Mali. Today is a very important day for our country. It shows when you work hard, and work together, good things can happen,” he said.

  This is not the first time a team has been knocked out of the Cup of Nations in this way.

  In 1988, Algeria were picked ahead of the Ivory Coast, and went on to finish in third place having lost on penalties to Nigeria in the semi-finals.

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