The Deportivo Alavés Goalkeeper Jesus Owono 20, lived up to his name sake ‘Jesus’ the Christian savior, saving two spot-kicks in the shootout to help them go through 6-5 on penalties after a 0-0 draw.
Equatorial hearts throbbed when the referee indicated the decisive save from Falaye Sacko’s effort needed to be retaken, but a VAR check showed Owono’s foot was on the line.
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Equatorial Guinea play Senegal next.
📹 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐋𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐓𝐒: 🇲🇱 0(5) – 0(6) 🇬🇶 #TeamEquatorialGuinea reaches the quarter-finals for the third time in history after beating Mali.
Watch all the best moments of #MLIGNQ here 👇#TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | #AFCON2021 | @Football2Gether pic.twitter.com/mB4zXuPi6D
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 26, 2022
To put this victory into proper perspective, the men’s football World rankings reveals a damning fact –the Malian eagles are a whooping 61 places higher than their Equatorial Guinean opponents, yet a resilient performance ensured victory for the clear under dogs.
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A high-tempo but untidy first half saw Mali’s Amadou Haidara have the best chance when the RB Leipzig star was only able to scuff a weak shot from close range.
Meet Pablo Ganet, the man of the match
Pablo Ganet, elegido mejor jugador del partido ante Mali. Es incapaz de contener las lágrimas. pic.twitter.com/axU1cbukxy
— Germán Abril (@gerebit0) January 26, 2022
Equatorial Guinea, who inflicted a first defeat in 36 games on defending champions Algeria in the group stage, have yet again knocked out another AFCON favorite.
It was a bitter disappointment for favorites Mali, who had been the better team throughout, but failed to make their quality and opportunities count.