Ghana claimed bronze at the 19th African U-20 Championship after beating Mali 3-1 on Sunday at the Leopold Sedar Senghor Stadium in Dakar.
A brace from Yaw Yeboah and the other from Clifford Aboagye ensured Ghana picked her first bronze since 1991 with Malick Toure grabbing a consolation for the Malians in the closing stages.
It served a sweet revenge for the Black Satellites, who suffered a painful 1-0 loss in the previous meeting between the sides at the group phase in M’Bour. The determination of the Ghanaians was their secret against the Eaglets, who even wasted a penalty in the dying embers.
The battle for bronze started on a low tempo with the defeats of the semi-final matches still telling in the play of both sides.
After some time, the two sides began to find their feet and it was Mali who had the first chance at goal on 18 minutes through a goalmouth action from a corner, but the final touch from captain Ichaka Diarra missed target narrowly.
Ghana responded positively and broke the deadlock five minutes later. Enterprising midfielder Clifford Aboagye struck a thunderbolt at the edge of the penalty area that bounced off the post into play and Yeboah, who was lurking around tapped in for the opener.
On 38 minutes, Ghana goalie, Kwame Baah, who was enjoying his first taste of the tournament scored full marks with a cool save from a Alassane Diallo gol bound shot from close range.
Ghana went into recess with a thin lead but it was the Malians who resumed stronger aided by their swift passing game. On 54 minutes and seven minutes later, the Eaglets had two chances to score but Diallo and Falaye Sack failed to convert from close range.
Despite having the better of possession, it was the Ghanaians who looked purposeful upfront and they will solidify their lead on 65 minutes through Yeboah, who fired a low past Mali shot-stopper Sory Ibrahima Traore after Asiedu Attobrah laid to him.
Aboagye capped his fine afternoon by registering his name on the score sheet on 71 minutes, finishing off a solo move with a shot past Traore and take the game beyond the Malians.
Six minutes from time, Toure pulled one back capitalizing on a misunderstanding between Ghana goalie Baah and substitute Emmanuel Antwi to slot into the yawning.
Three minutes later, the Malians were awarded a penalty after Ghana defender Patrick Asmah was adjudged to have handled during a goalmouth action. However, Baah denied substitute Hamidou Traore with a superb save from the spot to maintain the two-goal lead of the Satellites.
Orange Man of the Match
Yaw Yeboah (Ghana)