Mali became the first team to exit the ongoing 2019 Africa U23 Cup of Nations, after suffering their second defeat on Monday against Cameroon at the Cairo International Stadium. 

The Malians were beaten 1-0 to also miss out on qualification to next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. 

Bayern Munich’s Frank Evina scored the game’s lone goal 14 minutes from time as Les Lions raised their tally to four points. It was Evina’s second goal of the campaign after scoring in the 1-1 draw with Ghana last Friday.

Cameroon midfielder Evina was behind the first half’s most dangerous chance. His precise free-kick six minutes from halftime should have broken the deadlock for Cameroon but for Mali’s goalkeeper Youssef Koita who produced a brilliant stop to deny Evina.

After the break, things remained quiet till the 76th minute when a tussle inside Mali’s area led to the ball falling at Evina’s foot, and his shot was too strong for Koita to stop.

Cameroon topped the group with four points, waiting for the result of the second game of the day between hosts Egypt (3 points) and Ghana (one point) later at the same venue. Mali trail the group pointless and their qualification hopes off.

Total Man of the Match: Frank Evina (Cameroon)

What they said

Frank Evina (Total Man of the Match): “It’s an amazing feeling to score the winner. I hope to continue on that because our target is to reach the Olympics. I thank my teammates for their help and performance.”

Rigobert Song (Coach, Cameroon): “We had a great game and deserved to win. Against Ghana, we surrendered our win the last three minutes and this had us under pressure. Tonight we were strong enough to grab maximum points.”

Fanyieri Diarra (Coach, Mali): “This is football. Sometimes you do everything but you just can’t win. We will give our best for a positive result against Ghana despite the fact we are already disqualified.”