Ghana hold on to reach quarter-finals – BBC Sport

Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan

Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan struck his side’s winner

Ghana withstood intense second-half pressure to beat Mali 1-0 and reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

Andre Ayew fired wide from six yards before Asamoah Gyan headed in the opener as Ghana started well.

Mali’s Moussa Marega missed two good chances with a header and a shot, and Razak Brimah superbly saved Kalifa Coulibaly’s volley late on.

The win puts Ghana into the last-eight with a game to spare, while Mali must beat Uganda to keep their hopes alive.

It could have been very different for Mali had they taken some of the chances they created in the second half.

As well as those misses from Marega and Coulibaly, Mali threatened with efforts from Salif Coulibaly, who drove just wide, and Hamari Traore, whose 20-yard volley was not far away from the top corner.

They also had a last-gasp appeal for a penalty turned down.

Ghana, who were in total control in the first half, were run ragged after the interval – and their split-personality performance will be a major concern for coach Avram Grant.

Mali must find a way to finish off their opportunities – they have yet to score at the tournament – if they are to have any chance of avoiding a group-stage exit.

Gyan sets record

The Ghana skipper became his 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.

Gyan and his team-mates celebrated his goal with a choreographed dance routine and the striker then held up a t-shirt which carried on it a get well message for Baba Rahman, who is out of the tournament because of injury.

Live Text

Match ends, Ghana 1, Mali 0.

Second Half ends, Ghana 1, Mali 0.

Attempt saved. Bakary Sako (Mali) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner.

Attempt blocked. Bakary Sako (Mali) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Moussa Doumbia (Mali) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Frank Acheampong (Ghana).

Salif Coulibaly (Mali) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Emmanuel Badu (Ghana).

Attempt saved. Kalifa Coulibaly (Mali) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Moussa Doumbia.

Attempt missed. Moussa Doumbia (Mali) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Ousmane Coulibaly.

Substitution, Ghana. Afriyie Acquah replaces Jordan Ayew.

Hand ball by Hamari Traore (Mali).

Molla Wagué (Mali) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jordan Ayew (Ghana).

Foul by Kalifa Coulibaly (Mali).

Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Salif Coulibaly (Mali) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Emmanuel Badu (Ghana).

Foul by Bakary Sako (Mali).

Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution, Ghana. Emmanuel Badu replaces Asamoah Gyan.

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Kalifa Coulibaly (Mali).

Thomas Partey (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Hamari Traore (Mali) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Bakary Sako.

Attempt blocked. Moussa Doumbia (Mali) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Yves Bissouma.

Substitution, Mali. Kalifa Coulibaly replaces Moussa Marega.

Hamari Traore (Mali) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Christian Atsu (Ghana).

Attempt missed. Yves Bissouma (Mali) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Hamari Traore.

Foul by Molla Wagué (Mali).

Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Harrison Afful.

Foul by Ousmane Coulibaly (Mali).

Jordan Ayew (Ghana) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Hamari Traore (Mali) left footed shot from long range on the left is close, but misses to the left.

Foul by Yacouba Sylla (Mali).

Jordan Ayew (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Bakary Sako (Mali).

Mubarak Wakaso (Ghana) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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