Mali and Guinea battled to a draw in the Africa Cup of Nations Wednesday, leaving the fate of the two Group D rivals in the hands of a highly unusual lottery.
Guinea took the lead in the 14th minute with Kevin Constant coolly converting a penalty resulting from a handball by Mali’s Salif Coulibaly.
Mali themselves earned a penalty less than two minutes later when Guinea’s Baissama Sankoh was booked for a handball. Unfortunately for Mali, captain Seydou Keita’s penalty was saved by Guinea’s keeper.
Mali finally equalized in the 46th minute when Modibo Maiga headed Abdoulaye Diaby’s cross. Neither team was able to score after that.
With both teams having drawn all of their group games, and having equal numbers of points and goals, their destiny now lies in the hands of the organizing committee who will draw lots on Thursday to decide who goes through.
The other Group D match, meanwhile, was more decisive, with Cote D’Ivoire notching the first and only win of Group D’s qualifying games. Max Gradel’s screamer in the 35th minute was all that was needed to settle the game, with Cameroon, and especially midfielder Edgar Salli, missing two clear cut chances.
It was a fair result for Ivory Coast, who avoid the lottery, the same process that evicted them from the tournament in 1988, the last time the it was used.