The Ivory Coast had to rely on another late equaliser in Group D of the Cup of Nations, with substitute Max Gradel coming to their rescue against Mali in a 1-1 draw in Malabo to leave both sides on two points from two games played.
Despite going in as underdogs, Mali made an outstanding start to the game as Wolves winger Bakary Sako lashed in a brilliant half-volley from Sambou Yatabare’s cross to the far post.
Just as against Guinea, Herve Renard’s side struggled to create clear chances despite the outstanding individuals in their side, although Wilfried Bony should have been awarded a penalty after being tripped up by Wague in the area.
The second-half was an extremely frustrating one for The Elephants as Mali ate up the time with a series of stoppages and some resolute defending.
But just when defeat seemed inevitable, first-half substitute Max Gradel was on hand to sidefoot Serge Aurier’s cutback in to keep their hopes in the tournament alive.