Striker Bassira Toure scored a brace as Mali beat hosts Ghana 2-1 in the match day 2 of Group A on Tuesday at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Toure found the back of the net in either half with substitute Elizabeth Addo scoring in between as Mali shocked the home team in front of their teeming fans.
It was the hosts who started the game on the front foot dictating the pace in the early stages with stand-in captain Priscilla Okyere and Jane Ayiyiem giving the Mali defenders some anxious moments.
The pendulum of the game changed in the favour of Les Aigles and they took the game to the Ghanaians with Toure and Sebe Coulibaly leading the charge.
After some pressure, the Black Queens eventually cracked in the 20th minute when Ghana goalkeeper Patricia Mantey fouled Toure inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot. The AS Mande striker dusted herself to expertly nail that penalty through the middle to give the Les Aigles a deserving lead.
Back from recess and Ghana coach made a quick change taking off Okyere for Addo.
The changes made the desired impact as Addo got the equalizer via the spot on 71 minutes after she was fouled by her marker in the vital area.
Ghana’s joy was short lived as Mali restored their lead three minutes later. Fatoumata Diarra's free-kick was spilled by goalkeeper Mantey and it dropped in front of Toure who directed home powerfully.
The Ghanaians mounted a last minute charge upfront to get an equalizer but the Malians held on to claim victory.
Total Woman of the Match: Bassira Toure (Mali)
Bashiru Hayford (Head Coach, Ghana)
I normally don’t like talking about officiating but we all saw what happened with the referee. We had some chances to score but we failed to do so and so did the Malians. But I am not overly disappointed with the result because we played over 70 per cent of the game. We lost and as a coach I take all the blame. This is a match that we played better than what we did against Algeria. We have not been eliminated in the competition because we have one more game to play on Friday. So we will still go back to the drawing board and make sure that we win irrespective of what might happen in the other last Group A game.
Houssein Saloum (Head coach- Mali)
I want to congratulate my players for the performance today. We watched the game against Cameroon again and identified our mistakes, so we worked at it and it worked today. Ghana played well and managed to come back after we scored. My players were resilient and restored the lead. It wasn’t an easy match, but this is what I was saying yesterday that we are ready to go all the way to the final so we needed a quick response today and we got it. We will enjoy the victory tonight and go back to the drawing board and correct the little mistakes we created in the game so that we put up a flawless performance against Algeria on Friday.