Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice to inspire the Panthers to a 4-3 win over Mali in a thrilling friendly international on Wednesday night in the northern French city of Beauvais.
The Malians were first off the blocks after SC Bastia defender Drissa Diakite struck in the sixth minute of play. Wydad Casablanca striker Malick Evouna leveled proceedings in the 36th minute, ensuring both sides entered the break with a goal apiece.
Udinese defender Molla Wague, who scored for his club at the weekend, restored Mali’s lead in the 57th minute, but a quick-fire brace from Aubameyang turned the tables in Gabon’s favour.
AFCON star Bakary Sako looked to have done enough for a share of the spoils when he pulled Mali level eight minutes from time, but Bordeaux defender Bruno Ecuele Manga snatched the win in the final moments.
The Panthers will now face Belarus on March 30, while Mali hope for better fortunes against Ghana on March 31 in Paris.
Bafana 3-1 Swaziland
South Africa bounced back from their disappointing Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a 1-3 victory over Swaziland in an international friendly in Mbabane.
Critically the game marked the return of former Bafana Bafana number one goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune for the first time since injury cost him his place over a year ago.
Five players, including goal scorer Thabo Mnyamane made their Bafana bow. Others were Siphelele Ntshangase, Thapelo Morena, Daniel Cardoso and Cole Alexander.
It was business as usual for the South Africans as the win maintained their dominance over their neighbours, stretching the head-to-head record to five straight wins.
South Africa will now turn their attention to Nigeria (after the Eagles lost on Wednesday) who they host on Sunday at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Nigeria 0-1 Uganda
Swaziland 1-3 South Africa
Botswana 2-0 Lesotho
Indonesia 0-1 Cameroon
Story by Joy Sports/Gary Al-Smith
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