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Black Stars Squeeze Past Mali

Mubarak Wakaso pushed Ghana that much closer to the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals after scoring the only goal in their 1-0 win over Mali on Thursday.

Wakaso slotted the winner from the penalty spot before the interval and Ghana held on to the narrow lead to claim all three points in the Group B encounter.

Seydou Keita had an early chance for Mali after a mistake from goalkeeper Fatau Dauda gave the opposition a promising free-kick. However, Keita sent his set-piece wide of the target.

Asamoah Gyan also provided some thrilling play with his deflected shot on goal, but the majority of play was concentrated in the middle of the park and neither side really threatened to score.

Ghana came within inches of taking the lead in the first half when Agyemang Badu directed a header at the target, but it hit the woodwork and Mali survived.

However, the decisive strike came in the 38th minute when the Black Stars were awarded a penalty after Adama Tamboura brought down Emmanuel Agyemang Badu in the box. Wakaso stepped up and coolly buried the spot-kick.

The Espanyol player was then booked for his celebrations after he lifted his shirt to display a religious slogan. The act could cost Ghana dearly as Wakaso will now miss the team's final group game against Niger on Monday.

The second half was stop-start thanks to some sloppy play with both sides earning yellow cards for their poorly time challenges.

Ghana looked to close out the game on a high as substitutes Solomon Asante, Derek Boateng and Christian Atsu went close, but they settled for a 1-0 win.

Ghana are now at the top of Group B with four points, one point clear of Mali, while the other teams in the group, Democratic Republic of Congo and Niger, are scheduled to clash later tonight.

Standard Bank Moment Of The Game: There can be no doubt that Mubarak Wakaso's calmly slotted penalty was the stand-out moment of the AFCON clash.

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