Mali eyeing first three points against Ivoirians

The Eagles of Mali will take on Cote d’Ivoire as they aim to register their first three points in their 2015 CAF African Cup of Nations, Group D match in Equatorial Guinea on Saturday evening.

Inspired by captain Seydou Keita, Mali will hope to find solace in the fact that the Elephants will be without their influential striker, Gervinho, who was red carded in their 1-1 draw against Guinea last Tuesday.

However, coach Henryk Kasperzcak’s men have been inspired by their gutsy display against Cameroon and to midfielder and man of the match in that game, Sambou Yatabare, they’re disappointed not to have claimed the maximum points against the Indomitable Lions.

However, despite being disappointed, he also highlighted some positives from which they can take into games against the likes of the Elephants and National Elephants in their last group match respectively.

“We could have won this match, I don’t know if it was a mistake from our side or a great play from the Cameroonians – we are disappointed and we need to correct our mistakes,” he said.

“We had a great game. We were strong defensively and I am sure we can take that going forward.”

On the other hand, the 2012 finalists, coached by Herve Renard could possibly call on the St. Etienne’s player, Max Gradel as a replacement for the Roma striker Gervinho.

To midfielder, Geoffrey Serey Die, they have a good team which is capable of going far in this prestigious tournament.

“We have a team good enough to go far in this competition, Mali may be a step up from Guinea but each match has his own reality,” said Die.

“We are going to show a different face against Mali, anyway, it is going to be war against them.”

The result in this game is set to change the standings in Group D as all the four teams have amassed one point thus far and three points are at stake as both coaches, Kasperzcak and Renard will eye maximum points to consolidate their chances of a second round qualification.

The match gets underway at Estadio de Malabo at 18:00 (SA time).