Cardiff defender Bruno Ecuele Manga made a costly error in Gabon’s 1-0 defeat to Mali in African Cup of Nations qualifying on Saturday. The Bluebirds defender, who has been pressed into an emergency right-back role because of injuries at Cardiff City Stadium, lined up at centre-back for his country in their Group C clash in Libreville.
But Ecuele Manga saw a first-half defensive header cannon back off his own crossbar for Mali striker Moussa Doumbia to tap home the rebound for the only goal of the game.
He was captaining a much-weakened side who were without Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Southampton’s Mario Lemina through injury. The result ensures Mali have qualified for the AFCON finals set to be hosted in Cameroon next year, irrespective of the results in the final rounds of qualifiers in Group C.
Gabon will now need to beat Burundi in Bujumbura next March if they are to join Mali in Cameroon.