Africa Cup of Nations 2013: Mali vs. Ghana Score and Results Summary
Tomorrow, the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations tournament will come to an end with the final match. Before that, the third and fourth places had to be decided in today's matchup between Mali and Ghana.
With both teams hailing from Group B, they had already met on the pitch once this tournament. That fixture ended in a 1-0 Ghana win.
But today was a different day. If Mali was looking for revenge, they certainly found it. Here's a breakdown of today's exciting third-place match.
Mali Defeats Ghana 3-1
It was an exciting finish to a great game, but in the end Mali walked off the pitch with the win, and a third-place finish at this year's AFCON.
Despite the big matchup, it was an interesting day at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. There were quite a few empty seats, which wasn't helped much by the foul weather.
However, it didn't seem to put much of a damper on these teams' passionate play.
The Eagles drew first blood 21 minutes in, with Mamadou Samassa coming up with a beautiful header to put Mali up 1-0.
Looking to get something going, Ghana was on the full offensive to close out the half. The Black Stars were aggressive and attacked often, but were unable to get anything in the goal.
Not long after the beginning of the second half, Mali found themselves up 2-0 after a perfect pass across the goal to Seydou Keita, who drove it home.
The Black Stars found themselves with an opportunity for a penalty kick 58 minutes in, but their penalty specialist Mubarak Wakaso put too much on it and the shot sailed over the goal.
Wakaso scored the lone goal in these two teams' previous matchup—off a penalty kick.
Ghana continued its fierce attack all match long, but Mali seemed to have no issues absorbing the attempts and getting the ball clear.
Finally, at the 82-minute mark, Ghana found some success, with Kwadwo Asamoah finding the goal.
But three minutes after the 90-minute mark, Mali's Sigamary Diarra would drive home the Eagles' third goal of the game, sealing up a well-earned 3-1 victory.
It was Mali's second third-place finish in a row, after defeating Ghana 2-0 in last year's AFCON third-place game.
While there's often a debate over whether a third-place match is necessary, the players certainly seemed ready to play their hearts out.
Mali was charged all match long, and despite playing from behind, Ghana refused to back down.
In the end, it was the Eagles' patience that won the match. They handled Ghana's attacks when needed, and were great at creating shots.
Here's hoping tomorrow's final will be as exciting as this game was today.
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