France-based Samassa was sent off in the second half in Bamako soon after striker Bakary Sacko from English second-tier club Wolverhampton Wanderers had scored for the Eagles. Another French Ligue 1 footballer, striker Cheick Tidiane Diabate from leaders Bordeaux, assured a home victory with a stoppage-time goal.
His strike took Mali to the top of Group B on goal difference from Algeria, who defeated Ethiopia 2-1 in Addis Ababa Saturday. Mali and Malawi were also scheduled to play Saturday, but torrential rain forced a 24-hour delay.
Malawi host Ethiopia Wednesday while Mali are away to 1990 African champions Algeria.