The Black Stars of Ghana book their place in the quarter finals of the ongoing African Cup of Nations in Gabon by piping Mali to a lone goal courtesy captain Asamoah Gyan’s 20th minute header.
The match was compact as anticipated with both sides enjoying equal play and possession. It was a game of two halves as Ghana took control of the first half and made good use of the scanty chances that came on their way.
Ghana could have taken the lead in the early minutes. Christian Atsu with his usual runs on the right side, outwitted his marker and pulled out a low grounder which was met by Andrew Ayew’s shot, but it flashed the face of goal.
Mali responded quickly and could have taken the lead. Molla Wague header inside the penalty box from a corner kick went wide.
But luck was not on Mali’s side the second time. Ghana’s dominance of the game continued with serial onslaughts. Jordan Ayew took responsibility and launched an attack of his own. He tore off from his marker and crossed the ball from the right side of Mali’s defence which was met by an equally perfect header from Asamoah Gyan to put Ghana in the lead. Ghana protected the lead to the second half.
Back from recess, Mali took control of the game and dominated but they could not break down the defence of the Black Stars. Mali had a clear chance to equalize in the 49th minute but Moussa marega’s header was not strong enough to outsmart Black Stars keeper, Razak Brimah
Both coaches brought in fresh limbs to change the course of event. Alain Giresse brought on Yves Bisouma, Moussa Doumbia and Kalifa Coulibaly but that could not change the complexion of the game .Ghana’s coach Avram Grant also brought on Emmanuel Agyemang Badu and Afriyie Acquah to augment the midfield and it worked to perfection.
Both clubs tried to change the direction of the game but it was too little too late. The game ended as it was in the first half with Gyan’s goal being the decider of the two teams .