SAMBA Diakite’s Mali qualified for the knockout stages of the Africa Cup of Nations on Monday evening after a 1-1 draw with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Diakite played 87 minutes as Mali did enough to finish second in Group B and join Ghana in the quarter finals.
Mali were forced to come from behind against Congo to earn a point and progress to the last eight.
Leopards playmaker Dieumerci Mbokani opened the scoring from the penalty spot after just three minutes.
However, Mali levelled 11 minutes later as Mahamadou Samassa tapped home from Adama Tamboura's neat pull-back.
It marks the Malians' second successive progression to the knockout stage, as they seek to better last year's third-place finish in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.
Mali will now face host nation South Africa in Durban on Saturday, 2nd February.