Mali goalkeeper Mamadou Samassa compared their Wednesday?s opposition to five-time World Cup champions Brazil after they succumbed to a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the semi-finals of the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Durban.
The 22-year-old, who plays for Guingamp in France, said they don?t deserve any blame for such a huge loss because they met a fire-spitting side that could have dismantled any team at the competition.
?I feel the team we played against was Brazil and not the Nigeria we used to know. From my post I was seeing more than 15 green shirts pouring forth against us and not the usual 10 players. They were strong, slippery, focused and pacy,? Samassa told supersport.com.
?We did our best. We heeded our coach?s instructions but they fell below what was needed to stop the Super Eagles. They were winning all the balls, pursuing us mercilessly each time we had the ball and their finishing was always on target and that was their major advantage. They have forwards that can transform the slimmest goal chances.?
Mali will face Ghana in the third place match on Saturday February 9 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth. Both sides met in a similar situation last year at the Africa Cup of Nations held in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, with the Eagles triumphing to claim bronze.