CAN 2013: Black Stars grab vital first win of the tournament against Mali
A Mubarak Wakaso penalty on 38 minutes was enough to secure a 1-0 victory for Ghana in their second match of CAN 2013. After a disappointing draw against DR Congo in the first game in which they let a 2-0 lead slip it was imperative they got a positive result against Mali. Thus they started the game with some intensity in attempt to stamp their authority on it.
It took Ghana a little time to settle into the game but when they did it came as little surprise when they opened the scoring. Wakaso scored from the spot in the first half after Emmanuel Agyemang Badu had been brought down. The Espanyol winger coolly converted as Mamadou Samassa in the Mali failed to get a touch despite diving the right way. However Wakaso earned his second yellow card of the tournament for his celebration, ruling him out of the Niger clash, although he was also carried off on a stretcher later on.
However early on it was Ghana’s goalkeeper Fatau Dauda who was the centre of attention after sliding out of his area and clearly using his hand to stop the ball. He escaped with a yellow card and perhaps Ghana’s chances of winning intact. Mali had one decent chance in the first half when their captain and talisman Seydou Keita curled a free-kick narrowly wide, but that was as good as it got for them.
In the second half Ghana attempted to increase their lead and Gyan shot narrowly wide before Badu saw a free-kick pushed wide by Mali keeper Samassa, while substitute Solomon Asante also flashed a shot the wrong side of the post in the closing stages. Mali looked short of ideas and never seriously threatened to get back into the contest in a poor second half which featured more yellow cards than chances.
The Black Stars held out for a win and although the performance was not spectacular it was professional and they got the job done. They now sit top of Group B with 4 points from two games after Niger and DR Congo’s goalless draw. Victory against Niger in their final group game will guarantee Ghana a place in the last eight.
In the Black Stars we trust!
What were your thoughts on Ghana’s performance?
Ben JK Anim-Antwi (@Kwesitheauthor)