Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 23 News List

Mali advances in the African Cup


Senegalese El-Hadji Diouf, left, fights for the ball with Kenyan Rober Mambo Randu during their African Nations Cup match in Bizerte, Tunisia. Senegal won 3-0.


Freddie Kanoute was again outstanding as Mali reached the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals by beating Burkina Faso 3-1 on Friday, while Senegal finally found its scoring touch in a 3-0 rout of Kenya.

Kanoute scored his third goal of the tournament and assisted on another as Mali moved to the top of Group B with six points -- becoming the second team along with host Tunisia to reach the quarters.

"We shouldn't get too carried away," said Kanoute. "Although it's true that both the defense and the attack are playing equally well and we are building a solid group."

Senegal, which has four points, needs only to draw its remaining game, against Mali on Monday, to reach the last eight.

Kenya is eliminated, while Burkina Faso must now resoundingly beat Kenya, and hope Senegal loses to stand any chance of qualifying.

Despite Senegal's seemingly comfortable win -- all the goals came in the opening half-hour, including two by Mamadou Niang -- midfielder Salif Diao was furious with the performance.

"If we keep playing like that, we will get taken apart when we play bigger teams," the Liverpool midfielder said after the win in Bizerte.

"We're not going anywhere if this keeps up," he added. "I'm not happy at all. I'm disgusted at how we played."

Fellow midfielder Aliou Cisse, who plays for Birmingham City, said teams are not scared of facing the likes of Senegal -- the African Cup runner-up two years ago.

"There are no longer any small teams on the African continent now," Cisse said. "Everyone is waiting to take on the so-called big teams like Senegal."

Mali's and Senegal's clash will decide the group winner, with the runner-up probably facing host Tunisia in the quarters.

Meanwhile, in Tunis, Kanoute once again showed his class.

The Tottenham Hotspur player opened the scoring in the 34th minute, collecting a pass from Mahamadou Diarra and planting an angled drive past goalkeeper Abdoulaye Soulama.

"Of course I'm happy to score," Kanoute said. "But if I'm doing so well it's also down to the incredible workrate of the midfield."

Diarra got on the scoresheet three minutes later when he headed home. In the 49th minute, substitute Dieudonne Minoungou got Burkina Faso back in the game when he scored from close range. But a wonderfully cushioned pass from Kanoute sent Soumaila Coulibaly clear and he sealed the result in the 78th.

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