Ghana vs. Mali  0 - 2

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Africa Cup of Nations: Ghana 0 Mali 2

11 February 2012 22:36

Mali defeated a 10-man Ghana 2-0 in the third-place match at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea on Saturday.

Forward Cheick Diabate scored both goals for the Eagles as defender Isaac Vorsah saw red for a second bookable offence to leave the Black Stars with 10 men on the pitch.

The game started with vigour as both teams searched for an early hold on the encounter. Nineteen-year-old Jordan Ayew, who started up front for Ghana in place of Asamoah Gyan, got the first opportunity on 21 minutes but his shot from the edge of the box was held by Oumar Sissoko.

The Malians took the lead two minutes later when Diabate scored from close range after Ghana goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey had spilled a resulting shot off a corner kick. It was the Bordeaux striker who reacted quickest ahead of Vorsah and Jonathan Mensah to put the ball past the goalkeeper.

The game then went into slumber as both teams were unable to gain the upper hand.

Jordan Ayew received a yellow card for his challenge on Samba Sow as the game descended into a scrap.

Mali missed an opportunity to double their lead when Samba Diakite's shot was kept out by Kwarasey. Diakite had dispossessed two Ghanaian defenders before seeing his shot saved.

A few moments later, the younger Ayew brother once again tested Sissoko with a snap shot, but his attempt was saved by the goalkeeper.

Vorsah earned his first yellow card for a challenge on Diabate before the end of the first half.

The Ghanaians then rang in changes as they searched for an equaliser, with Prince Tagoe and Sulley Muntari coming on for Samuel Inkoom and Mohammed Abu as the pace in attack quickened.

Muntari saw a goal disallowed for offside on 53 minutes before Vorsah got himself into trouble for a raised leg and was sent off as a result of his second yellow card offence.

Ghana fought back but attempts to run through the Mali defence by Andre Ayew were frustrated as the Eagles began to dominate the game.

Their dominance was rewarded on 80 minutes when full-back Adama Tamboura's inch-perfect cross from the left was tapped in by Diabate for the Eagles' second goal.

The win avenged Mali's first-round loss to Ghana as they secured their first Africa Cup of Nations medal since 1972, when they finished second.