Ghana vs. Mali  1 - 0


Ghana vow to keep improving

24 January 2013 20:56

Ghana coach James Kwesi Appiah was happy with his side after their 1-0 win over Mali, but believes they can still get better.

A 38th-minute penalty from Wakaso Mubarak helped Ghana to their first win in Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations.

After a 2-2 draw against the Democratic Republic of the Congo in their opening game, Appiah was pleased with his team's response on Thursday.

"The players were much more disciplined in this particular game. There was no loss of concentration during the game," Appiah said.

"I would say we've still got much to offer. We can do much, much better than what we did today. We just hope that we keep going and we see more of that."

Ghana were fortunate early in the encounter, with goalkeeper Fatau Dauda lucky to remain on the pitch.

Dauda deliberately handled the ball outside the area to deny Seydou Keita a goalscoring opportunity but only saw yellow for the incident.

Appiah said he spoke to Dauda about the handball at half-time and believes he will learn from his mistake.

"It's not a good thing that any coach would encourage his player," he said.

"But, saying that, during half-time I spoke to him about it, that he shouldn't have done that, knowing very well that these are the set rules.

"It's always important that once that is done all the players learn from it so that we don't face situations because any yellow card can cost you along the line."

Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan warned his team against complacency when they face Niger in their final group game.

"Although we had a difficult game today we came with the mentality of winning no matter what. We needed a win in this game," he said.

"We're facing Niger. They played a very good game against Mali. They lost their game in the last stages. We are not here to underrate them.

"We will make sure we take it game by game and make sure we qualify. We've got four points. We need more points to qualify to the next stage."

Mali coach Patrice Carteron, meanwhile, said his side had no time to be disappointed by the defeat

The result leaves Mali in second place on three points - one point ahead of their next opponents DR Congo with one group game remaining.

"I don't think it's a question of midfield or anything. I just think the Ghana team were better than us in the first half," Carteron said.

"I thought in the second half we could have scored. But their defence was good today so we just have to say that Ghana was better than us today, that's all. Luckily we have a last game to try to qualify.

"Just after the game and during half-time I was really angry because I didn't recognise my team in the first half. But at the end of the game I just said to the players that we have no time to be disappointed after this game.

"We have no time, it's a short competition, we have to be ready in four days. So the defeat tonight is for me, we must let the players be quiet and prepare for the third game."


Afcon: Ghana 1 Mali 0

24 January 2013 18:49

Ghana moved top of Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations after beating Mali 1-0 in Port Elizabeth on Thursday.

A penalty from Espanyol midfielder Wakaso Mubarak ensured the four-time African champions got their first win of the continental showpiece after drawing with DR Congo in their opening game on Sunday.

Wakaso put the Ghanaians in the lead in the 38th minute of the match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, the spot kick won by Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu off Adama Tamboura.

The game started quietly as both teams felt their way into the contest, but Ghana's goalkeeper Fatau Dauda had a fortunate escape after he received only a yellow card for deliberately handling outside the area.

Mali started to get the better of the exchanges after that, but failed to really threaten, with Ghana also showing glimpses of their ability as Asamoah Gyan's effort was diverted for a corner after he received the ball in the penalty box.

The Black Stars finally started to find their rhythm but seemed to be struggling to break through the Eagles back line as Harrison Afful and then Wakaso took shots from distance, with none of them causing problems for Mamadou Samassa.

The goalkeeper was beaten by a glancing header from Agyemang-Badu moments later but his post came to his rescue. The Udinese midfielder was played through on goal a few minutes later only to be brought down by Tamboura for a penalty.

The spot kick was slammed home by Wakaso to open the scoring with 38 minutes on the clock.

Ghana started the second half the more hungry team as they looked to add to their goal, with Albert Adomah and Gyan going close.

Mali managed to cause Dauda a couple of uncomfortable moments in between with some very good deliveries into the box.

An Isaac Vorsah mistake almost gave Mali a good chance but the Black Stars defenders quickly reorganized to spare their colleague's blushes.

Much of the play was confined to the middle third, with a long-range effort from Agyemang-Badu one of few sights of goal mid-way through the second period.

Mali went down the other end almost immediately, causing a goalmouth scramble with another long-ball into the box but Ghana managed to clear once more as the game looked to be finally opening up.

Solomon Asante almost made a spectacular entrance into the game as his effort whizzed past the post just seconds after coming on for Adomah. Mali managed a couple more forays forward but failed to find an equaliser.

Mali will now have to get a result in their final game against DR Congo if they are to qualify for the next stage while the Ghanaians will be feeling more confident about their chances ahead of their final game against Niger, who are considered to be the weakest team in the group.