Africa Cup Of Nations 2012: Ghana, Mali Advance From Group D

Ghana ensured qualification with a 1-1 draw against 10-man Guinea, while a 2-1 win for Mali against Botswana saw them into second place and a spot in the quarterfinals.

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Africa Cup Of Nations 2012, Group D: Ghana Finish Top, Mali Join Them In Quarters

We've wrapped up the group stages at the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, so we're down to eight teams from the original field of sixteen. Group D, the last in action, still had all four teams in with a hope (if only mathematical, in some cases). Ghana needed a draw, but were probably through no matter what, while Guinea needed to get a better result than Mali to get through. Botswana, meanwhile, needed to hope that Guinea lost while defeating Mali by six goals or more. Here's how things went down on the group's final day.

Ghana Vs. Guinea

The Black Stars once again failed to fire as Guinea generally had the better of the match, but Ghana went ahead just before the half-hour mark when Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu sent a long-range dipping volley straight into the top corner of Naby-Moussa Yattara's net. By that point, Guinea could easily have been two goals to the good - they were denied a penalty when Ibrahima Traore was fouled early on and and Traoe also had a goal ruled out for offside. They would find the equaliser their play merited just before the break, when Abdoulaye Camara floated a delicious lob over Adam Larssen and in, but a red card to midfielder Mamadou Bah made it impossible for Guinea to do much more, and the match finished at 1-1.

Botswana vs. Mali

Mali needed a positive result to advance having lost against Ghana the last time out, but fortunately for them, they faced Botswana, who'd been hammered 6-1 in their previous fixture. It came, then as a surprise when the minnows went ahead just after the stroke of halftime when Mogakolodi Ngele dispatched a cross, but Mali answered strongly and levelled when Garra Dembele slotted home a rebound. Barcelona's Seydou Keita then finished off the comeback with fifteen minutes to go with a curled effort that flew beyond the helpless Modiri Marumo, giving Mali the 2-1 win.

The results of the matches means that Ghana go through as group leaders with seven points, while Mali finish second with six. Guinea, at four, and Botswana, at zero, are both out of the competition. The quarterfinals from this side of the bracket will be Gabon vs. Mali and Ghana vs. Tunisia.

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