Ghana vs. Mali: Final score 1-0, Black Stars in pole position

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Following a disappointing draw in their first game, Ghana took the lead in Group B of the Africa Cup of Nations with a win over Mali.

Ghana still haven't quite hit their stride in the Africa Cup of Nations, but they closed stronger against Mali on Thursday than they did in their opening match. Just like they did against the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they took a first half lead, but unlike that match, they were able to hold on for three points in their 1-0 victory.

The Black Stars dodged an early bullet when goalkeeper Fatawu Dauda handled the ball outside of the penalty area deliberately in the 7th minute. He could have seen red, but the referee only showed him a yellow card and Mali was unable to do anything with the ensuing free kick.

In the 38th minute, Adama Tamboura hauled down Emmanuel Badu in the box and the referee granted Ghana a penalty. Wakaso Mubarak stepped up and converted, but made the mistake of lifting up his shirt to reveal a religious message on his t-shirt. He was shown a yellow card -- his second in as many matches -- and will be suspended for Ghana's final group stage match.

Mali had a number of half-chances in the second half, but nothing terribly significant, as Ghana defended well and held on for a win.

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