Date: January 28th, 2015
Venue: Estadio de Mongomo
City: Mongomo, Equatorial Guinea
Time: 20:00 (CAT)
Match Result: Guinea 1 – 1 Mali
Goal Scorers: 1 – 0, Kevin Constant 15’; 1 – 1, Modibo Maïga 47’
The GSV Top Class Award
We at GSV adore moments of brilliance, and there are fewer brilliant moments in football that watching a composed and assured lad step up to the spot and net one of the most technically challenging penalties in the book; Kevin Constant had us all standing to ovate his brilliant paneka. In such a crunch encounter, with qualification riding on it, Constant confidently dispatched a work of art that deserved to win him the GSV Top Class Award and the hearts of many purists across the football fraternity.
The GSV Class Clown Award
While we are on the subject of penalties, Malian skipper Seydou Keita may want to ask Constant for a few tips on taking spot kicks as he showed that you are never too old to learn something new with his poorly taken spot kick; in a must-win encounter, the skipper pulled rank and nearly cost his nation a shot at qualifying. Even though we at GSV would like to give CAF the GSV Class Clown Award for deciding the second place debacle in the Group of Draws with a “ball-picking lottery”; yet even they come a close second to an abysmal Seydou Keita penalty, which has made him the winner of the GSV Class Clown Award.
The Grand Stand View
Mali surprised many of us by playing the better football and dominating the opening exchanges, that was until they were robbed of a clear penalty by a further example of the dodgy nature of officiating in our fraternity; the sad irony is that Guinea received their own penalty just a couple of minutes later and Kevin Constant duly dispatched the spot kick to put Guinea in the lead. The madness continued when Mali finally got a penalty of their own, skipper Seydou Keita stepped up and delivered the type of penalty you teach lads not to ever take; Mali fans would not have been remiss for thinking that their skipper had eclipsed Tokelo Rantie on the list of players you’d never want to have take a spot kick for you if your life depended on it. Mali seemed to have had a fire lit underneath them at the half by gaffer Henryk Kasperczak as the side immediately came out and displayed a greater desire to gain a positive result out of the encounter with a well worked move ending with Modibo Maïga heading in the equalizing goal for a side that had struggled to break down their steadfast opponents in the first stanza. Mali continued to dominate their opponents as the game wore on and Guinea looked like they were holding on for their tournament lives or at the least hoping that the drawing of lots would present them with a better opportunity to emerge as the 2nnd qualifier out of the Group of Draws. Mali had one last golden chance to win the game when a great set-piece opportunity was handed to skipper Seydou Keita, the skipper hit his effort into the wall and continued to show his lack of form at set-pieces, as his delivery from corners had been dire for the duration of the game as well. The final draw in the Group of Draws lead to there being one last draw in the group stages and CAF officials would have to gather and draw lots to decide whether Guinea or Mali would finish 2nd in Group D and go onto face Ghana in the quarter-finals.