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Zaha followed a long ball forward and latched onto it just before Mali goalkeeper Djigui Diarra could get off his line, as Zaha finished past Diarra to lead the Ivory Coast to a 1-0 win over Mali, on Monday in Egypt. With the win, the Ivory Coast advances to quarterfinals, where it will face Algeria on Thursday. Algeria beat Guinea, 3-0, on Sunday.
It was a match of numerous missed chances. Mali’s Moussa Marenga and Youssouf Kone had multiple chances they skied over the bar, and in one case, Kone had a shot saved by Ivory Coast’s Sylvain Gbohouo. In the second half, Jonathan Kodjia of Ivory Coast and Adama Traore of Mali traded chances, but few shots were placed on target as both teams looked set to go to penalty kicks. Of the ones that were on target, most were tame efforts, with both team’s defenses nullifying any clear chances in the box.
Ultimately, it was the long ball that Zaha was quickest to on the second phase after an initial header, finishing into an open net and running towards his bench in elation after scoring.
Elsewhere, Tunisia stunned Ghana, winning 5-4 on penalty kicks. Tunisia advances to play Cinderella Madagascar on Thursday in the quarterfinals.