The Black Stars of Ghana Thursday evening, brightened their chances of making the knockout stage of the ongoing South Africa 2013 African Cup of Nations, as they defeated the Eagles of Mali 1-0 in their second Group B match.
The match saw Ghanaian goalkeeper, Fatau Dauda getting the first yellow card in the 6th minute for coming out of his box, as he was caught handling the ball deliberately on the edge of his box.
Former Barcelona star and Malian captain, Seydou Keita offered to take the resultant free kick from the 18 yard, but he curled the ball beyond the left side of the post.
The Black Stars however came out of their shell in the 25th minute, as midfielder Harrison Afful blasted a chance wide from 25 yards.
Ghana had another chance to go ahead in the game in the 36th minute, when Agyemang Badu was fouled by Malian defender, Adama Tamboura in the penalty area, and the referee wasted no time to call for a penalty kick.
Mubarak Wakaso buried the spot kick nicely near the right post to put the Ghanains 1-0 ahead in the 39th minute. The scoreline did not change as at the time the first half ended.
The Black Stars resumed for the second half of the game by making their first substitution in the 46th minute, when Sigamary Diarra was replaced by Modibo Maiga.
Due to the tightness of the match, the second yellow card was handed to Malian defender, Mahamadou Bamba N’Diaye for rough play in the 49th minute. Ghana then stretched their dominance into the second half.
As the battle for ball possession continued, Gyan, who was lucky to have the ball, tried to curl it to the bottom right corner from 25 yards, but the attempt went wide in the 55th minute.
The encounter was marred by many fouls, but it got worse in the 63rd minute when Ghanaian midfielder, Mohammed Rabiu was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle on Malian striker, Modibo Maiga.
Mali’s Adama Coulibaly was also given a yellow card in the 68th minute, shortly before Mohamed Lamine Sissoko of Mali was pulled out for Samba Sow in the same minute.
After Coulibaly received a yellow card for dissent, Ghana’s Paintsil was also booked for time wasting in the 69th minute, while Wakaso Christian was substituted for Twasam Atsu in the 71st minute.
Malian midfielder, Mahamane El Hadji Traoré was also shown a yellow card for a very bad tackle on a Ghanaian player in the 73rd minute. Traore was, however substituted with Mamadou Samassa barely three minutes after that tackle.
The determined Malians stepped up their game, trying to get an equaliser but a resolute Ghanaian side kept their rear intact, and frustrated their opponents till end of the match, and snatched away the slim 1-0 victory.
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