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Guinea progress in African Cup of Nations after drawing of lots vs. Mali

Guinea got the luck of the draw and became the final quarterfinalists at the African Nations Cup in Equatorial Guinea on Thursday at the expense of Mali after the drawing of lots.

Group D saw Ivory Coast finish top by beating Cameroon 1-0 on Wednesday, but Mali and Guinea drew 1-1 yet again, meaning they could not be separated in the standings.

Instead, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) draw took place at a hotel in Malabo on Thursday afternoon, with Guinea drawn to advance to the knockout phase of the tournament.

"It's hard for each team because nobody deserves to be out of the competition," Guinea coach Michel Dussuyer previously said. "But now it is a reality we have to face.

"Mali didn't lose a game -- they played very well in the tournament. I would be disappointed, but it's hard for any team. No one deserves to be eliminated."

There had been a possibility that all four teams would be in the draw, but Ivory Coast managed to hold on for victory in Malabo -- the only result in the group that did not finish 1-1.

In Mongomo, Guinea took the lead when Kevin Constant converted a 15th-minute penalty. Mali had a chance to equalise two minutes later but captain Seydou Keita had a penalty saved at the other end.

The equaliser eventually came in the second half through forward Modibo Maiga's back-post header.

But since Mali and Guinea could not be separated on the field, they have been separated by luck.

Mali's veteran captain Seydou Keita was left to rue failing to convert his penalty.

"They are the regulations of the competition and we have to go by them," Mali coach Henryk Kasperczak previously said. "But it doesn't work well. They (CAF) need to look at it again."

Max Gradel scored the only goal of the match at Malabo Stadium after collecting a pass from Siaka Tiene that went through the legs of Cameroon forward Edgar Salli. He then ran toward the middle of the field before unleashing a hard shot that flew past a diving Fabrice Ondoa.

The result gives the Ivorians first place in the group and a quarterfinal match against Algeria on Sunday in Malabo. In Sunday's early match at the same venue, Guinea will face Ghana.

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