Ghana Beat Mali …Black Star Match Interrupts Rubber Stamp Vetting
Mubarak Wakaso scored from the penalty spot after 38 minutes after Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu was felled in the box. The solitary penalty strike was enough to hand Ghana their first win in the 2013 African Cup of Nations.
The first 45 minutes saw Ghana playing the better quality football, but for all their promise and swift passing they actually struggled to create many decent opportunities from open play.
One of the biggest talking points of the half happened as early as the seventh minute when many would have argued that the Black Stars goalkeeper, Fatau Dauda, should have been shown a straight red card.
A lack of communication between defender John Boye and Dauda allowed Mali’s Seydou Keita to pressure the goalkeeper into handling the ball outside the 18-yard box. Being the last man between Keita and the goal, Dauda should have been shown the red card, but instead the referee branded the yellow card.
From the resulting free-kick, Keita came within inches of giving Mali the lead, when his 20-yard effort whispered past the left-hand post.
After that, however, it was all Ghana as they struggled to break down the Eagles defence and had to opt to shoot from long range as a result.
Harrison Afful came close to scoring from the distance for the Black Stars in the 24th minute, when his 30-yard thunderbolt sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
In the 32nd minute Ghana came close again to breaking the deadlock, this time from a left-side set-piece. The ball was whipped into the box and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu rose above the Mali defence to head the ball on goal, but he saw his 14-yard effort bounce off the right hand post.
Finally, in the 36th minute, the Back Stars were able to fashion an opening on goal in general play, as Asamoah Gyan slipped Agyemang-Badu through on goal, but he was recklessly pulled down inside the box by Mali’s Adama Tamboura, and the referee did not hesitate to point to the spot.
Mubarak Wakaso stepped up and superbly dispatched the penalty into the top right-hand corner of the net to give Ghana the lead, 1-0, a lead they kept going into the half time break.
The second half of the game saw the play move from end to end, as Ghana tried to put the result beyond doubt, while Mali tried desperately to find the equalizer.
But the amount of pressure applied by both sides resulted in the game being a little sloppy. Consequently, players were getting frustrated and a host of yellow cards (two for Ghana and three for Mali) were shown for careless tackles.
Subsequently, clear-cut chances on goal were few and far between and again Ghana had to try their luck from distance.
Gyan came close to doubling his sides lead in the 55th minute when his 24-yard shot skimmed the outside of the left-post.
The Black Stars had another chance from a corner-kick in the 74th minute when Isaac Vorsah met the set-piece with a powerful header, but his effort went just over the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Mali’s goalkeeper, Mamadou Samassa had to be at his best, diving full stretch to his right to palm a 30-yard free-kick from Agyemang-Badu for a corner-kick.
That was the last decent action of the match as Ghana picked up their first win of the AFCON tournament and thus handed Mali their first defeat.
Kwesi Appiah made three changes to the team that started Ghana’s previous game for the Group B clash against Mali at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Isaac Vorsah, Rabiu Mohammed and Harrison Afful made their first starts in this year’s competition.
Ghana line up: Fatau Dauda, John Paintsil, Harrison Afful, John Boye, Isaac Vorsah, Rabiu Mohammed, Albert Adomah (Solomon Asante), Agyemang Badu, Asamoah Gyan, Mubarak Wakasu (Christian Atsu), Kwadwo Asamoah (Derek Boateng)
Short URL: http://thechronicle.com.gh/?p=51085