Storified by Pitch Invasion ·
Sun, Feb 10 2013 04:37:47
Mali defeated Ghana (3-1)
This was a repeat of last edition's third place match. Last year Mali had defeated Ghana 2-0 in the same 3rd place fixture after Ghana had beaten them in the group stages. Mali were looking to do it all over again at the expense of Ghana.
1st Half: Both teams started well, Mali scored first.
Rain pelted down from the first whistle and both teams looked to capitalise on the slick surface by pushing forward to get the first goal. Ghana looked threatening while going forward but looked shaky in defence, especially when Mali played balls in behind their full-backs. One such ball ended up being their undoing as the Mali left-back Tamboura was set loose on the left flank, expertly controlling the ball in his stride and then brilliantly setting up the opening goal scored by Samassa.
2nd Half: Mali attacked and scored an early second.
Ghana tried to recover immediately from conceding their early goal but were unable to find the finishing touch in the first half. After the break Ghana started with intent again but Mali were more clinical while going forward, this time releasing a player on the right who crossed in for Seydou Keita to double Mali's lead.
Mali GK Diakite didn't have a great game, eventually letting in a goal.
Ghana upped the tempo to try and get their opening goal of the match. Their constant pressure started to have an effect on the Mali goalkeeper Diakite as he constantly started spilling any ball that was crossed in. Kwadwo Asamoah saw that the goalkeeper was unsettled so he decided to take a speculative shot from over 30 yards out. What should have been a routine standing chest-high save, Diakite unnecessarily made an epic mess of it by over-diving in the wrong direction while the ball floated into the goal!
Ghana tried but couldn't equalize, Mali went and got their third goal.After 2-1, Ghana kept pushing for an equalizer but just couldn't be definitive enough. They spent the last 10 minutes of the game with the majority of the possession, forcing some nervy clearances from Mali. But while desperately applying pressure for a goal they left themselves vulnerable to counter attacks. When Mali did finally get the ball in added-time, they attacked not from a flowing counter, but from more of a route one pass that turned out to be enough. Diarra latched onto a bouncing ball with a first time volley to finish the wasteful Ghana off in the 94th minute of the game.
Ghana's had the majority of the possession and shots on goal, but just didn't have the quality to finish off in the end. This is Mali's second consecutive 3rd place finish and victory over Ghana. The Black Stars, like fellow favourites Ivory Coast, just didn't seem to have finishing power needed to see of the final stages of the competition.