African News

Mali 3-1 Ghana


Keita: Amongst the goals again

Keita: Amongst the goals again

Mali earned their second successive Africa Cup of Nations bronze medal as they dispatched Ghana 3-1 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.


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Mahamadou Samassa had given the Eagles the lead with an excellent diving header, while Seydou Keita doubled their advantage moments after the restart with a close-range finish into the bottom corner.

Ghana had their chances to score, most notably through Mubarak Wakaso's missed penalty, while they did finally find the back of the net through Kwadwo Asamoah's swerving effort.

However, in the end it was the Malians who were left celebrating as Sigamary Diarra fired home deep in injury-time to to earn the win that marked the second time in a row they have edged Ghana in an AFCON bronze-medal match, having secured the win in the 2012 installment.

The Black Stars started the game the brighter of the sides and were gifted an early chance to test Soumaila Diakite after Adama Coulibaly cleared straight into Asamoah Gyan, but the striker couldn't get enough dip on his volley and the goalkeeper watched the effort sail over.

Ghana had a golden chance to take the lead after 15 minutes as Solomon Asante did brilliantly at the by-line to get past his man before cutting into the area and setting up Christian Atsu, but his shot was straight at the goalkeeper who did well to hold on.

It was the Eagles who drew first blood, though, as Adama Tamboura delivered a telling ball into the area and, with all the defenders focusing on Diakite, Samassa was able to nip in unnoticed to send the ball home via a stunning diving header.

Ghana continued to knock on Mali's door, although Mohammed Awal was probably the last man the side would have wanted to see on the end of a through-ball into the area, with the centre-back wasting a glorious chance by dawdling with his shot to allow the defence to nip the ball off his toes.

Mali twice came within inches of grabbing a second before the break, Samassa first beating the keeper to a flick-on to clip his shot goalwards, but the spin on the ball took it into the post and out for a goal-kick, while moments later Keita could only put his first-time shot just wide of the upright.

Just three minutes after the restart, though, the Eagles did double their lead, Coulibaly doing all of the hard work by bursting into the area while holding off his man to square the ball across the face of goal, and Keita came storming in to slot home into the bottom corner of the net.

Ghana were gifted a golden chance to pull one back before the hour mark after the referee incorrectly adjudged Coulibaly to have handled in the area, but Wakaso produced a woeful penalty kick as he fired his effort way over the crossbar.

Mali almost snatched a third in the final 10 minutes as Fousseni Diawara picked up the ball in the opposition area before lining up to shoot, but he was robbed of possession at the vital moment and the defenders were able to clear the danger.

Ghana ensured a tense final few minutes as Asamoah's long-range effort somehow got past Diakite, who almost looked to take himself out of the ball's path, but Diarra fired home on the counter deep into injury time to put the result beyond doubt.

Posted: 09/02/13 19:52

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