2012 Africa Cup Of Nations Quarterfinals: Mali, Ghana Advance After Tough Matches

Ghana and Mali are both through to the Africa Cup of Nations semifinals, although neither team went on the procession that the Ivory Coast or Zambia managed in the previous day's quarterfinals. Mali were up first against co-host Gabon, and they probably didn't deserve to make it through after the excellent Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang set up Eric Mouloungui for the opener a little way into the second half, but Cheick Diabate levelled five minutes from time and despite Mali having a man sent off Gabon simply couldn't take the advantage in extra time. The cohosts would eventually lose thanks to Aubameyang - who's been one of the standout players in the tournament - missing his penalty, allowing Barcelona's Seydou Keita to win it. Mali's reward is a showdown with the Ivory Coast in the semifinals.

Ghana then played Tunisia, and although the Black Stars got off to a flying start when John Mensah nodded home a corner nine minutes into the match, Tunisia would reply before halftime with a header of their own when Saber Khelifa got on the end of Zouheir Dhaouadi's cross. It was hardly a footballing masterclass from either side - the players could probably be described as 'enthusiastically incompetent', and it made complete sense that the match would be decided by a complete howler in extra time, when Tunisia keeper Aymen Mathlouthi turned a cross that was going for a goal kick into an open goal for Andre Ayew to slot home. Thanks to a late red card to Aymen Abdennour, who threw an elbow into Ayew's face shortly thereafter, the Black Stars were able to see out the rest of the match without too much of a problem. They'll face the Zambia in the next round.

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