NENE DORGELES refused to celebrate despite scoring for his country at the Africa Cup of Nations – for a very classy reason.
The exciting playmaker, 21, produced an incredible moment of magic to fire Mali ahead in their Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final.
Dorgeles cut inside from the left flank – dropping a defender on to his backside – before unleashing a superb strike from 25 yards that flew into the top corner to break the deadlock on 71 minutes.
The Red Bull Salzburg star immediately ran off in excitement at his wonder goal against the hosts.
But within moments he suddenly pulled up and lifted his hands to show he was not celebrating his goal-of-the-tournament contender – despite the excitement of his team-mates.
And there is a very valid and sweet explanation for the unusual reaction following such a phenomenal goal to put Mali ahead and within 20 minutes of the Afcon semis.
That is because although Dorgeles was born and raised in Mali, his parents were born in Ivory Coast.
And therefore he wanted to be respectful to his parents’ homeland where he regularly visits.
Fans on social media praised Dorgeles for his thoughtful reaction with emotions clearly running high.
One said: “I still can’t get over Nene Dorgeles refusing to celebrate. I’ve seen players refuse to celebrate against their former club, but never after scoring against his parents’ country.”
Another simply wrote: “Respect.”
And a third added: “Nene Dorgeles joins Breel Embolo as the only players in my mind who’ve apologised for scoring against the country of their parents. #classy”
Embolo reacted similarly at the 2022 World Cup when he scored for Switzerland against Cameroon, the country of his birth.
Normally the lack of celebration is reserved for club football when a player scores against their former team.
The Dorgeles goal, though, was just a fraction of the incredible drama.
In the first half, Adama Noss Traore saw his golden chance to put Mali in front from the penalty spot denied by a smart Yahia Fofana save.
Odilon Kossounou then picked up his second yellow card of the first half to reduce the Elephants to ten men.
Then just as it looked as though Ivory Coast’s chaotic run was going to end, they equalised through Simon Adingra in the 90th minute to force extra-time.
Sebastien Haller crashed a header against the crossbar in the added half an hour, while at the other end Willy Boly came within a whisker of scoring an own goal.
And as penalties looked inevitable, sub Oumar Diakite grabbed a winner in the 122nd minute with a clever flick to send the hosts into the final four and spark pandemonium in the Stade Bouake.
However, there was still time for Diakite to get sent off as Ivory Coast – managed by interim boss Emerse Fae after Jean-Louis Gasset’s mid-tournament sacking – finished with nine men while Hamari Traore also saw red for heartbroken Mali.
Ivory Coast will play DR Congo in the semis after a wondergoal from Arthur Masuaku fired them through against Guinea.