Mali go home

Mali and Guinea finished Group D at the African Cup of Nations with exactly the same record after both countries drew all their group games 1-1. In order to decide who was to progress, lots were drawn (for the third time in the history of the African Cup of Nations) and Guinea are through to the quarter finals. Penalty shoot-outs are often described as a lottery and the worst way of going out of a competition, but exiting through the drawing of lots is surely worse? At least with a penalty shoot-out, you have some control over what happens and can prepare for the situation. It is also settled on the field of play, which is surely where the result should be settled. I would favour a system for deciding who qualifies (if necessary) based upon what happened when the two met; the team who scored first to progress. In the event of a 0-0 draw, which team had the greater percentage of shots on target. Whilst statistics can be misleading (a team with 1 shot/1 shot on target would progress over a team with 29/30 under my suggestion for higher percentages), it is still surely a better a system because it is decided on the field of play. The CAF are looking at how they can change the rules to ensure that Mali become the last team to be knocked out as a result of drawing lots.

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