Co-favourites Ghana and Mali power into AFCON quarters

Feb 02, 2012
  • Ghana and Guinea played out to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday.(Photo by CAF)

Ghana and Guinea fought out a 1-1 draw with Guinea in a West Africa derby in Group D of the Orange Africa Cup of Nations 2012 played in Franceville.

The draw ensured that The Black Stars finished top of the group but Guinea missed on quarter final place as Mali beat Botswana 2-1 in Libreville to claim second place in the group.

Guinea who started the day needing a win to stay in the competition were no push overs and stretched the co-favourites but their loss to Mali in the first cost them a fourth successive quarter final place.

It was Guinea who showed early moments of promise with a mobile short-passing midfield anchored by veteran Pascal Feindouno dominating play. Guinea pressed but though Ibrahima Traore had the ball in the back of the net it did not count as he was in an offside position but the Guinea midfield was pulling strings Agyemang Emmanuel Badu broke the deadlock after 27th minutes when he scored a brilliant goal with his right foot.

The midfielder hammered a thunderbolt after setting himself up by flicking the ball with his other foot letting goal a belter that beat Moussa Naby Yattara. Encouraged by the goal Ghana threatened Yattara’s goal and Asamoah seemed to have be stopped unfairly in the box but the referee waved the appeal away.

Andrea Ayew was soon linking up with Asamoah Kwadwo, Samuel Inkoom and Gyan creating openings in the Guinea defence. Ghana looked to be heading into the break with their lead intact but Abdoul Razzagui Camara had other ideas.

The Guinea left winger ‘s runs down the left flank had been troubling Ghanaian defence and on the stroke of half-time Camara went on a run with captain John Panstil in close attendance released a lob of a shot that sailed over goalkeeper Larsen Kwarasey into the top left hand roof of the net.

Play in the second half picked up from where the first half finished and Guinea went close with Ismael Bangoura forcing a save from Kwarasey. Guinea pressurized further and from the resultant corner Sadio Diallo headed just over the cross bar. The Syli Nationale was throwing everything at Ghana.However Ghana’s array of talent was always likely to turn on the heat. Ghana will now meet Tunisia in Franceville while Mali stays in Libreville to play co-hosts Gabon as the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations quarter final list is completed.

Mali progressed into the quarterfinals after second half goals from Garra Dembele and Seydou Keita handed them a 2-1 win over Botswana in Libreville.

The Eagles had to come from behind after Mogakolodi Ngele had put the Zebras into a shock lead early in the second half, but the combination of their win and the draw between Ghana and Guinea was enough to clinch a place in the knockout rounds from a tightly-contested Group D.

 

Caf