Equatorial Guinea needed penalty kicks on Wednesday in Limbe to beat Mali 6-5 on penalty kicks after a goalless draw in extra-time.
The win helped them to reach the quarter-finals of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) tagged “Cameroon 2021”, where they set a date with Senegal on Sunday.
Nzalang Nacional reached the quarter-finals for the third time in as many participations.
Mali on their part failed to imitate what they did in Cameroon 50 years ago when they reached the 1972 final.
Taken by anxiety and the desire to score in the first minutes, both teams failed to create real goal opportunities
Mali could have opened the scoring after the 32nd minute though.
RB Leipzig midfielder Amadou Handara came close to scoring but could not keep his balance to finish off a free-kick.
The Malian Eagles tried a counter-attacking move to force their opponents into making mistakes.
In the 37th minute, Mali striker Moussa Doumbia claimed a penalty kick, but the assistance of VAR overturned the penalty kick awarded.
It was clear that the two sides would go in at half-time with a goalless draw.
In the second half, both teams tried their best to reach the quarter-finals of the competition.
The Malians were more consistent at the back, but they lacked more attacking firepower and wasted several chances.
Mohamed Camara missed the target after a perfect assist from Yves Bissouma after 58 minutes.
In the extra-time, both sides were cautious, and after 120 minutes, it was for the penalty kicks to decide.
Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper Jesus Owono was his side’s hero, saving two penalty kicks to send NZalang Nacional to the final eight.