Ghana Vs. Mali, 2012 Africa Cup Of Nations: Black Stars Finish Strong For 2-0 Win

Nobody would call Ghana's play on Saturday brilliant, but a late surge netted them the two goals they needed and a 2-0 win over Mali. Playing without the suspended John Mensah, Ghana were sloppy for most of the match, but their two goals were fantastic and have them on the verge of the knockout stages at the Africa Cup of Nations.

There was nothing interesting to speak of in the early going as the ball bounced around a packed midfield, but after the opening half-hour things began to open up some and Mali earned themselves a few chances. Unfortunately for Mali, their finishing was poor and it led some to wonder what Mali would have been had Frederic Kanoute not retired. Kanoute wasn't out there though and all of Mali's chances went for naught.

It wasn't as if Ghana were dominated though. They also had chances and were equally as wasteful. That is until the 63rd minute when Asamoah Gyan 25-yard free kick cleared the wall and dipped just under the bar. It was a perfect free kick and the Black Stars had their breakthrough, leading to a choreographed goal celebration dance along the sideline.

Only 13 minutes later, Ghana was dancing again. This time the goal came from the right as Gyan's backheel opened up just a bit of space for Andre Ayew, who cut in, then back out to clear the slightest bit of space for himself before firing towards the near post. Soumaila Diakite was beaten and Ghana had put the game to bed at 2-0 with under 15 minutes to go.

With the win, Ghana are now on six points in Group D, three points clear of Mali and Guinea. A win or draw over Guinea in their finale will put them through to the knockout stages, while Mali will square off against Botswana in their final group stage match.

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