Four days after Nigeria laboured to a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia, Mali put the same opponents to the sword, beating the Asian powerhouse 3-1 in an international friendly at the Estádio Municipal de Portimão, Soccernet.ng reports.
At the same venue on Friday, the Super Eagles were forced to a thrilling draw as Mohamed Kanno’s deflected free-kick in the tenth minute of stoppage time earned Saudi Arabia a share of the spoils.
Nigeria were favourites to claim their first win over the Saudi Arabians, but they conceded the first goal on the hour-mark after Salman Al Faraj’s ambitious free-kick managed to evade goalkeeper Francis Uzoho.
The Super Eagles turned the tie around in eight minutes as they equalised through Abdulelah Al Amri’s own goal before Kelechi Iheanacho’s fierce drive handed the advantage to the former African champions.
When a win seemed secured in the bag, Kanno came to Saudi Arabia’s rescue with one of the last kicks of the game.
But against Mali, the Green Falcons were completely outclassed.
Mali, on a three-game winning streak, were looking for their fourth victim, having defeated Congo, South Sudan, and Uganda in recent times.
Les Aigles wasted little time breaking through Saudi Arabia’s defence as Moussa Doumbia smashed home the opener in the 14th minute.
Real Sociedad forward Hamari Traore doubled the advantage for Mali just before halftime as the West Africans looked comfortable at the break.
Saudi Arabia threatened a comeback when Salem Al Dawsari reduced the deficit after the interval, but Auxerre’s Lassine Sinayoko broke free in the 70th minute to restore Mali’s two-goal advantage.
It is Mali’s first win over Saudi Arabia, as their first meeting in 2019 ended in a 1-1 draw.
It would be recalled that Nigeria, after managing a 2-2 draw with Saudi Arabia, defeated ten-man Mozambique 3-2 in another friendly match in Portugal on Monday.
The Super Eagles will return to action in November when they square up against Lesotho and Zimbabwe in the opening rounds of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign.