Niger coach Gernot Rohr fumes over Mali win

Niger coach Gernot Rohr has accused the referee of costing his team victory in their Africa Cup of Nations clash with Mali on Sunday.

A late goal from captain Seydou Keita gave the Eagles a 1-0 win and took them to the top of Group B.

But Rohr insisted his goalkeeper Daouda Kassaly was fouled in the build-up to Keita's goal in Port Elizabeth.

Kassaly appeared to be inhibited by a Malian player as well as a team-mate.

"It's a pity the goal came because of a mistake by the referee, who didn't see a big foul on my goalkeeper," Rohr said.

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It was a big mistake and that's why my players are disappointed

Niger coach Gernot Rohr

"We must protect the 'keeper a little bit.

"It was a big mistake and that's why my players are disappointed."

Rohr's views were backed up by Niger defender Mohamed Chicoto.

"Sport is a game; there are winners and losers. We lost but we didn't fail," he said.

"What I thought was a real shame was that the referee did not apply the rules.

"If a player clashes with another player and doesn't even get a warning that's not right. It needs looking into."

Despite the defeat, Rohr has not given up hope as Niger look for their first ever point at the Nations Cup.

"We have a chance because the other two teams drew today and so we have a little bit of hope," he said.

On Thursday, Niger will take on DR Congo, who came from two goals down to draw their opening game 2-2 with Ghana.

Also on Thursday the Black Stars will face Mali in Port Elizabeth.