Mali and Guinea will have to be separated by the drawing of lots after the two finished dead level in second place in Group D of the Cup of Nations after another 1-1 draw.
It was a story of two penalties in the first-half as Kevin Constant chipped in brilliantly from the spot for Guinea before Seydou Keita’s tame effort was easily saved two minutes later.
Referee Said Kordi was right with both calls after handballs by Mali’s Salif Coulibaly and Guinea’s Baissama Sankoh inside the first 16 minutes.
Mali came out with purpose after half-time and immediately levelled the scores when Abdoulaye Diaby picked out Modibo Maiga brilliantly for a header from close range.
Despite totally controlling the remainder of the game, Mali could not find a winner meaning one of these sides will now be eliminated tomorrow when lots are drawn.
11’ – PENALTY APPEAL: A big penalty appeal for Mali! Mustapha Yatabare breaks clear and is pushed by Fode Camara in the area. The ball may have been going through to the goalkeeper but that was certainly a foul.
13' – PENALTY! It is a penalty this time... but for Guinea! It was a very delayed decision from Said Kordi, but it looks correct. Coulibaly used a bit of arm heading the ball away. Penalty given!
14' - GOAL! Guinea 1-0 Mali. It's a panenka and it's a goal from Kevin Costant. Great composure and Guinea are in front. It was a handball, but the decision not to award a spotkick to Mali now looks even more controversial.
16' – PENALTY! What a remarkable start to this game. Another penalty and another handball after Maiga's shot is blocked by the arm of Baissama Sankoh!
18' – IT’S SAVED! What a terrible penalty from Keita, who goes tamely down the middle. It was a slow run-up and Yattara gathers it easily.
47' - GOAL! Guinea 1-1 Mali. Mali strike back within 90 seconds of the restart as Maiga is picked out at the far post by Diaby after a great run down the right. Maiga's header is powered firmly into the back of the net from six yards out.
90+3’ – FULL-TIME! Well, well, well. It's a third 1-1 draw in a row for these two sides and they will now be separated by the drawing of lots… tomorrow. Ivory Coast have won the group with a 1-0 win over Cameroon in Malabo. What an extraordinary end to the tightest of groups. Who will go through as runners-up, Guinea or Mali? We still don't know...
Guinea have conceded exactly one goal in their last seven Afcon group stage games.
Mali have not kept a clean sheet in their last eight Afcon matches.
Both Guinea and Mali have drawn their last FOUR Afcon group stage games 1-1.
Why could penalties not be taken? So the result CAF will have feared has happened and these two sides will now be separated by the drawing of lots. Surely in this instance, with the two sides already in the same place, and Ivory Coast and Cameroon not involved, a penalty shootout would have been a better, fairer way to decide who makes it through to the quarter-finals.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Modibo Maiga (Mali): The Metz striker, on loan from West Ham, was a big physical presence in attack for Mali and fully deserved the goal which has kept his side in the tournament, even though that may only be for a day. The decision to start him in place of Bakary Sako was a controversial one, but it paid off for Wajelech Kasperczak.
GUINEA: Mousssa Yattara 7, Lamine Yattara 6, Sylla 7, Camara 8, Traore 7, Constant 7, Conte 6, Cisse 6, Keita 6, Fofana 5, Sankoh 6... Subs: Camara 5, Paye 6, Soumah 6.
MALI: Berthe 6, Tamboura 6, Coulibaly 6, Yatabare 7, Sylla 6, Keita 7, Diakite 6, N'Diaye 7, Diaby 8, Maiga 8, Wague 7... Subs: Sako 6, Sambour Yatabare 6, Traore 5.