Mali came from four goals down to draw 4-4 against hosts Angola in the Africa Cup of Nations opening match on Sunday in Luanda.
Angola scored first when Flavio headed home a free kick taken by Gilberto in the 36th minute.
Four minutes later, Flavio again nodded from point blank range a cross from Mabinga as the home side went into the break 2-0 up.
Bagayoko fouled Gilberto in the box after 65 minutes played and the resultant penalty was converted by Gilberto.
With 17 minutes left to play the home side got another penalty when Keita fouled Gilberto in the box and Manucho stepped forward to score; but the game only started to get interesting.
Four minutes later, Mali pulled lone back when Angola’s goalkeeper spilled a weak ball and the resultant scramble led to a goal by Keita and after that Kanoute reduced the deficit even more.
In the 92nd minute, Keita got a brace and put more pressure on the home side before Yatabare made it 4-4 with seconds left to play.
Mali’s captain, Mahamadou Diara admitted after the match that his side made mistakes and paid for it.
“We made a lot of mistakes and paid dearly for it as were completely outplayed. However we embarked on self belief and came back from hell. We should be happy with this result.”
Kali, the Angolan skipper said his side are devastated with the result.
“We are completely devastated with what has happened to us today. There we were, at the thresh hold of victory only to be sent crashing.”
Mali’s coach, Stephen Keshi gave the comeback to his players who did not give up.
“We were completely buried until the players came alive. One…two….three then four goals, fantastic result. I thought it was possible and the players thought like wise. But we must go back and analyse what happened in the first 65 minutes.