By Prince Dulzy
Asamoah Gyan’s first half goal for Ghana set them on their way to the quarter-finals of the 2017 African Cup of Nations with a 1-0 victory against Mali in Port-Gentil.
Mali had become a torn in the flesh for the Black Stars beating them to a third place twice in previous editions (2012, 2013) of the African Cup of Nations but there was no repeat on Saturday as captain of the Ghana national team Asamoah ‘Baby Jet’ Gyan drilled in the opener from Jordan Ayew’s cross after twenty-one minutes.
A lively start by Avram Grant’s side saw them come close to an early lead in the 17th minute when Christian Atsu with a neat feint that fooled two defenders and used his pace and clever dribbles to get past them to get inside the area then passed for Andrew Ayew who failed to find the net from close range.
Ghana were a constant threat to the Malians and was rewarded for a goal through Gyan before the half time. The goal makes him the country’s all-time top scorer in the competition with eight goals, overtaking Osei Kofi. He is also the first player to score at six consecutive Nations Cup finals.
The Eagles on Mali started the second half very well attacking and throwing in everything in search of the equalizer. They missed couple of clear cut chances while Ghana defence stayed resolute. Goalkeeper Razak Brimah also produced fine saves as the game ended with Ghana progressing to the quarter-finals.
Mali must win their final Group match against Uganda in order to stand a chance of qualifying to the next round, but that will even depend on the game between Ghana and Egypt.
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