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Ghana beat Mali 2-0 to close in on last eight place

12 years ago

Ghana beat Mali 2-0 on Saturday in their Group D clash of the African Cup of Nations to close in on a quarter-final place.

A thirteen minute blitz was all that Ghana needed to seal their place in the next round.

Asamoah Gyan put the Black Stars ahead in the second half and victory was sealed as Bakary Andre Ayew fired in a low grounder 13 minutes after the opener of the Group D clash in the Stade de Franceville in Gabon.

Ghana beat Botswana 1-0 in their opening match and look set to qualify as group winners. The group is still wide open between Ghana, Mali and Guinea as the qualification places would determined on the final day of matches.

Goran Stevanovic’s side tops the group with six points while Mali and Guinea are level on three points ahead of the last matches on Wednesday.

With the game following the 6-1 thrashing of Botswana by Guinea, the thought of a great game was anticipated by fans as the African derby, the decisive clash failed to reproduce the same form until after the hour mark.

Ten minutes into the start of the game, Mali’s Maiga Modibo dribbled his way on the left side of the Ghana defence his final touch went out of play.

Goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey missed a cross into the box which went out of touch for a corner kick. Again the Ghana goalkeeper failed to get hand on the kick which came off a Malian to the far post.

Soon after Ghana’s best chance fell to Sulley Muntari but he dragged his shot wide from close range after Mali goalkeeper Diakite Soumaila had spilled Kwadwo Asamoah’s shot from 22 metres in the 24th minute.

Kwadwo Asamoah had another go at goal but after finding space in front of the Mali box, he blazed his shot wide of goal in the 35th minute.

Jonathan Mensah, who together with John Boye did a great job at the back picked the game’s first booking after bringing down Diabate Tidiane.

And from the kick, Mali struck the upright beating the diving Kwarasey only for Tidiane to sky the ball after Mensah dived in.

The game’s second booking was handed to Seydou Keita for fouling Anthony Annan as the final five minutes saw little action as both sides just rarely attempted to break forward.

Both sides returned from the break and started off just like the first with Tamboura Adama and Ghana’s captain, John Paintsil getting booked.

Ghana made their first change with Charles Takyi taking over from Muntari. Few minutes later Mali conceded a freekick from 30 yards after Andre was brought down by Mali’s Traore Abdou.

Gyan, who had been quiet all evening curled the ball into the upright of Soumaila’s post in the 63rd minute to give Ghana the lead.

Two minutes after the opener, Kwarasey was beaten to a corner kick by Maiga but the ball flew past the post.

As the game progressed, Ghana found their spark. Gyan back-heeled the ball into Andre’s path and the attacker turned two defenders before firing to the far corner of post for Ghana’s second goal in the 76th minute.

Stevanovic made his second change, bringing on Samuel Inkoom for Kwadwo Asamoah and Derek Boateng for Anthony Annan as Ghana wrapped up the all three points.

Ghana line up

Starting line-up Adam Kwarasey, John Paintsil, Masahudu Alhassan, Jonathan Mensah, John Boye, Anthony Annan/Derek Boateng, Andre Ayew, Agyemang Badu, Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah/Samuel Inkoom, Sulley Muntari/Charles Takyi

Subs: Daniel Adjei, Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Lee Addy, Mohammed Abu, Jordan Ayew, Charles Takyi, Prince Tagoe, Derek Boateng, Ernest Sowah

Suspended John Mensah and Isaac Vorsah